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Leonardo awards sub-contract to IMP Aerospace & Defence for Canadian Search and Rescue helicopters upgrade

13 of 16 AW101/CH-149 “Cormorant” search and rescue helicopters to be upgraded in Canada

This subcontract reflects Leonardo’s ongoing commitment to Canada building on billions of dollars in goods and services procured in Canada since the introduction of the Cormorant fleet

Halifax, N.S., 28 April, 2023 – Leonardo is delighted to announce that IMP Aerospace & Defence has been sub-contracted to undertake the upgrade of 13 in-service AW101/CH-149 Cormorant Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters at its facility in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

This agreement, announced at an event on 27 April, with Canada’s Minister of Defence, the Honorable Anita Anand and government representatives from the United Kingdom and Italy, is further to the Canadian Department of National Defence contract awarded to Leonardo, through Leonardo UK Ltd - Yeovil, on 23 December 2022, for the AW101/CH-149 “Cormorant” Mid-Life Upgrade (CMLU) Project for 16 aircraft in total, which also comprises the augmentation of a further three aircraft.

IMP Aerospace & Defence is a “Team Cormorant” partner, which also includes CAE, Collins Aerospace Canada, and GE Aviation Canada. Under its sub-contract award, IMP will deliver 13 of the 16 upgraded Cormorants to Canada from its Halifax facilities. The first three helicopters will be completed at Leonardo’s UK facilities. IMP personnel will undertake on-the-job training in the UK to complete the build of the remaining 13 CMLU helicopters in Canada.

The sub-contract between Leonardo and IMP Aerospace & Defence includes the relevant program management, logistic support, engineering activities as well as electrical loom manufacture and procurement of Canadian supplier equipment. Leonardo shall be providing IMP with training, knowledge transfer and intellectual property in support of this sub-contract.

The CMLU Project is estimated to create and/or sustain hundreds of skilled jobs, the majority of those at IMP in Halifax and over 1,000 indirect and induced jobs with suppliers and the surrounding community during delivery of the project and subsequent in-service support requirements.

Together with the sub-contract placed with IMP Aerospace & Defence, Leonardo shall be investing 100% of the CMLU contract value with other Canadian partners and suppliers. This will include research and development organisations, small- to medium-sized business as well as academia.

The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, stated: "Through our upgrades to Canada’s Cormorant helicopter fleet, we are investing to keep Canadians safe and supporting good, middle-class jobs here in Canada. The CH-149 Cormorant helicopter is a critical asset for search and rescue operations in Canada. Upgrading our helicopters will ensure our continued search and rescue capacity going forward, all while supporting jobs for Canadians, and growing our economy."

Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, commented: “The AW101/CH-149 “Cormorant” Search and Rescue helicopter fleet has been providing the Royal Canadian Air Force with a dependable SAR capability across Canada for over 20 years. This Mid-Life Upgrade programme will deliver a greater level of high-technology to support the all-weather SAR capability that the country deserves. We're excited to execute this programme through Team Cormorant. This will reduce the cost of fleet ownership, while further increasing reliability, capability and safety for Canadians.”

Adam Clarke, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters UK, said: “Leonardo is proud to continue its 20 year+ relationship with Canada through the award of the Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade Project which will upgrade and augment Canada's existing AW101/CH-149 “Cormorant” Search and Rescue helicopter fleet. Leonardo shall work closely with its Team Cormorant partners to transfer knowledge and capability, the majority of the CMLU helicopters will be upgraded in Canada by Canadian industry.”

David Gossen, President of IMP Aerospace & Defence, commented: “Since 2001, IMP has supported Canada's rotary wing SAR fleet with pride. This contract award acknowledges our unique experience with the CH-149 and our vital role in its sustainment both now and into the future. Our partnership with Canada and Leonardo ensures uninterrupted world-leading SAR availability during the CMLU program and the transition to the next-generation Cormorant fleet.” 

Leonardo, a global high-technology company, is among the top world players in Aerospace, Defense and Security and Italy’s main industrial company. Organized into five business divisions, Leonardo has a significant industrial presence in Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland and the USA, where it also operates through subsidiaries that include Leonardo DRS (defense electronics), and joint ventures and partnerships: ATR, MBDA, Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space and Avio. Leonardo competes in the most important international markets by leveraging its areas of technological and product leadership (Helicopters, Aircraft, Aerostructures, Electronics, Cyber & Security Solutions and Space). Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange (LDO), in 2021 Leonardo recorded consolidated revenues of €14.1 billion and invested €1.8 billion in Research and Development. The company has been part of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) since 2010 and has been confirmed among the global sustainability leaders in 2021. Leonardo is also included in the MIB ESG index.

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