Canada looks at Royal Navy choppers
OTTAWA - The Harper government is signalling it is ready to throw in the towel on the purchase of CH-148 Cyclone helicopters, going as far as to sending a military team to Britain to evaluate other aircraft.
Defence sources say the team, which included an officer from the air force directorate of air requirements branch, visited a southern base in the United Kingdom recently to look at Royal Navy Merlin helicopters.
A spokeswoman for Public Works Minister Diane Findley confirmed the government is looking at options "other" than the troubled Cyclones, which are years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.
But Amber Irwin would not get into the details.
She says the government is conducting an analysis of price and availability of other aircraft manufactured by other vendors.
But sources inside National Defence said the effort is "quite serious" and more than just a warning to Sikorsky, the maker the Cyclones, which has been publicly pressuring the Conservative government to accept four test helicopters currently at Canadian Forces Base Shearwater, N.S.