Cyclone problem: Sonar snafu a challenge for Canada’s new navy helicopters

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HALIFAX — Testing of some of Canada’s new navy helicopters has hit a snag.

The Canadian Forces says a sonar system used by the CH-148 Cyclones must be removed before the helicopters are allowed to land on ships.

The military said in an email that the sonars risk being bumped by a landing system that tethers the helicopter to the ship.

The sonar system, which is typically lowered into the water for use, protrudes slightly from the bottom of the helicopter after it has been reeled into the fuselage.

An email from an air force spokeswoman says that a group of 14 helicopters known as “Block 1” can still conduct operations from land, and can still be used for testing and training after maintenance personnel have removed the sonars.

Major Holly-Anne Brown says the Sikorsky-designed helicopters have other systems for anti-submarine warfare.

She says the U.S.-based manufacturer will be redesigning the sonar system to avoid the problem in next batch of helicopters, but no one was available to discuss the cost of the change.

The Canadian Press