Orca-class vessels operate with Cyclone helicopter for the first time

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Navy News / May 15, 2019

By Lieutenant (Navy) Evan Park

On a sunny April afternoon off the coast of southern Vancouver Island, several Patrol Craft Training (PCT) vessels operated with a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter (call sign Stinger 20) for the first time.

The Orca-class vessels were at sea in support of Naval Warfare Officer training.

The Cyclone, a more powerful aircraft than the Sea King, creates significant downwash, so it’s important to determine the effects on the Orca class and to practise countering them.

Once interoperability was proven, the aircraft pilot and the officers in charge of PCTs Wolf, Raven and Grizzly conducted personnel transfers between the two platforms.

“Proving the concept opens the door to future transfers of provisions or personnel while under way, increasing flexibility in routine operations or during emergency response situations,” said Lieutenant-Commander Erik Poirier, Officer in Charge of PCT Wolf.           

The students, in their last training phase before joining the fleet, had a unique opportunity to work with the new airframe.

“Working with the Cyclone this week was a rare opportunity for myself and my fellow students,” said Acting Sub-Lieutenant Liam Moors. “We didn’t expect to work with it until we reached the fleet, let alone be a part of the first operation ever between the two platforms. It was a great experience.”