Tried-and-tested technology to replace the German Navy’s Sea Kings.Rheinmetall and Sikorsky recently presented the Cyclone Naval Helicopter at a joint press conference in Bonn. With a view to the German Navy’s planned procurement of thirty multi-role naval helicopters to replace its current Sea King systems, the companies have joined forces with additional partners in a pioneering alliance.With spare parts for the Sea King increasingly hard to come by and levels of operational readiness for remaining aircraft no longer adequate, the Germany Navy’s requirement for new systems is deemed to be urgent.The Cyclone helicopter from Sikorsky offered by the German Multi-Role Helicopter Team, in which Rheinmetall plays a decisive role, is viewed as a promising candidate for procurement.Within the Sikorsky consortium, Rheinmetall is in charge (among other things) of future system logistics and in-service support (ISS), and will also be responsible for the full range of instruction and flight crew training operations.The Cyclone helicopter meets the German Navy’s requirements. It is capable of simultaneously performing multiple roles, including maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare operations and engaging surface combatants. It is also equipped for search and rescue missions.The Cyclone helicopter contains proven, previously fielded technology. Recently selected by the Canadian Navy, the aircraft (dubbed the CH148) is currently undergoing successful trials. In terms of technology, the Cyclone derives from the extensively used civilian S-92 civilian helicopter. This aircraft is particularly popular with oil and gas companies, which use it for servicing offshore platforms worldwide, e.g. in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea and the waters off Newfoundland, Brazil, Australia, Malaysia and China.In just six years – a record time for a commercially used helicopter – the S-92 fleet has successfully reached the figure of 250,000 flight hours, having entered service in September 2004.The aircraft’s demonstrated durability, combined with speed, strength and range, make it an ideal basis for supplying future military users with a robust and reliable platform for performing a wide variety of missions.The Cyclone is a genuine multipurpose helicopter, featuring expandable architecture for German options and subsequent modifications.The German Navy’s new helicopter is to be deployed primarily in ship-based mode on its 124/125-class frigates and 702-class combat support ships.Among the new naval helicopter’s tasks will be:• maritime surveillance and generating an operational picture at sea;• search and rescue at sea, with enough carrying capacity to evacuate ten rescued crewmembers;• reconnoitring suspicious vessels, including engagement of hostile surface combatants with torpedoes and guided anti-ship missiles;anti-submarine warfare;• conducting boarding operations;• and transporting tactical personnel and/or material. defpronews

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