A CH148 Cyclone helicopter from
12 Wing Shearwater, N.S., recently conducted its first anti-submarine warfare
(ASW) events with Her Majesty’s Canadian Submarine (HMCS)Windsoroff the coast of Nova Scotia.
The exercise was linked to an
ongoing Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) being conducted by the
Helicopter Test and Evaluation Facility (HOTEF) at 12 Wing Shearwater.
ASW is a component of
underwater warfare that employs surface warships, aircraft and other submarines
to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines. This was the
first time a Cyclone has engaged in such activity, representing an important
milestone in the evolution of this new aircraft which provides wings for the
fleet and state-of-the-art air power for the Royal Canadian Air Force.
According to Major Erik
Weigelin, a pilot with HOTEF, the Cyclone's sonobuoy processing system was
tested to detect and track HMCSWindsorusing passive sonobuoys.
“This system allows us to track
submarines without making any active noise, thereby denying the submarine
knowledge of the helicopter's location or potentially even the fact that they
are being tracked at all. ASW by use of sonobuoys can be very challenging, but
havingWindsoras a target allowed the crews to hone
our equipment and develop a solid baseline of performance for the tracking of
real submarine targets,” stated Maj Weigelin.
WhenWindsorwas otherwise tasked, CH148 crews
employed Expendable Mobile ASW Training Targets (EMATTs) to simulate submarine
movements and noise patterns, which allowed HOTEF crews to further develop
those tactical procedures that will be used by operational crews following
CH148 Release to Service.
According to Maj Weigelin,
“Accurate and effective initial equipment settings, in combination with clear,
concise and easily repeatable procedures, is key to maximizing the crews'
effectiveness in challenging tactical situations. These procedures need to be
trained and practised to ensure peak operational capability of front-line crews
once they are deployed with the Cyclone.”
During their week at sea, CH148
crews conducted 16 hours of embarked OT&E with HMCSMontréal, the first ship
to support a HOTEF Detachment. The purpose of ongoing OT&E is to continue
to assess the aircraft’s combat effectiveness, develop tactical procedures, and
validate doctrine before the new maritime helicopter can be turned over to
A CH148 will progress planned
OT&E by participating in combined warfare exercises in the Atlantic Ocean
from late October to mid-November.