Timing of acquisition unclear if Ottawa changes course on maritime helicopter

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HALIFAX - The head of the Defence Department's procurement section says he doesn't know when the military could have a maritime helicopter if the government abandons the CH-148 Cyclones.

Rear Admiral Pat Finn says the timeline is unclear now that the federal government is looking at other aircraft.

Sources revealed Thursday that a military team visited a southern base in the United Kingdom recently to look at Royal Navy HM-1 Merlin helicopters.

A spokeswoman for Public Works Minister Diane Finley says the government is looking at options "other" than the troubled CH-148 Cyclones, which are years behind schedule and billions of dollars over-budget.

Finn says he's concerned about delays, but the department is trying to ensure it gets the capability it needs whether it be from Sikorsky or another company.

Finn, who gave an update on the military's procurement programs at a defence exhibition in Halifax today, says this latest development should put pressure on Sikorsky to deliver on its contract to deliver a total of 28 aircraft.

Organizations: Defence Department

Geographic location: Ottawa, HALIFAX, United Kingdom

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