A Canadian forces Sea King helicopter flown by Britain's Prince William flies over a group of onlookers including Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in Dalvay-by-the-sea July 4, 2011.
Credits: REUTERS/Phil Noble
The manufacturer has missed its June deadline to provide Canada's military with the first new ship-borne choppers this month, to replace the 50-year old Sea Kings.
"Failure to deliver fully compliant maritime helicopters will be met with significant additional charges to the contracted company," said Chris McCluskey, spokesman for
Associate Defence Minister Julian Fantino.
That means Sikorksy could face more than the $8 million in penalties they already face for previous delays in the Cyclone helicopter program, which has seen costs balloon to $5.7 billion.
Sikorsky was originally supposed to begin delivering 28 helicopters in 2008 to replace the Sea Kings.
When the company couldn't meet that deadline, the government negotiated 2010 delivery for interim training helicopters, with fully operable ones arriving in June 2012.
Now helicopter delivery is in limbo again, so the flight deck of HMCS Regina, which had been converted to operate with a Cyclone, has been re-converted to accept Sea Kings again.
"Given Sikorsky's recent delay to the delivery date set out in the contract, modifications were necessary to ensure the HMCS Regina would be deployable," McCluskey said.
The procurement mess goes back to a Liberal government that cancelled a contract 20 years ago to replace the Sea King with the EH-101 Cormorant, costing taxpayers $500 million in penalties.
The Grits then chose Sikorsky in 2004 to provide Sea King replacements.
Sikorsky has not responded to requests for comment.