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Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone – Canadian Anti-Submarine Helicopter Hit by Flares From Chinese Fighter Jets

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    Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone – Canadian Anti-Submarine Helicopter Hit by Flares From Chinese Fighter Jets

    The name Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone suddenly became a topic of conversation among netizens, even though the name of this twin engine multitole helicopter is somewhat 'less well known' compared to other helicopters made by Sikorsky. 

    However, due to the flare incident by the Chinese Shenyang J-11 fighter jet on Sunday, October 30 2023, the debut of the Canadian Air Force's Cyclone operating from the HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341) – Halifax class frigate also rose in fame.

    Of course, it is not natural for the CH-148 Cyclone to encounter the Shenyang J-11, where in that incident, the Canadian helicopter pilot 'sought safety' by flying low at an altitude of 200 feet (around 60 meters) above sea level. 

    At this altitude, the Shenyang J-11 will have difficulty intercepting. For the record, at the time of the incident the CH-148 Cyclone was flying on an anti-submarine mission, because it was looking for the position of a previously detected foreign submarine.

    Apart from the incident that occurred in the international waters of the South China Sea, it is interesting to pay attention to the figure of the CH-148 Cyclone. Even though it doesn't fly, this helicopter which is included in the medium transport segment has visited Indonesia, namely on a cruise mission for the HMCS Winnipeg (Halifax Class) frigate which docked in Jakarta in September 2022. 

    Each Halifax Class frigate carries one CH-148 Cyclone unit on its voyage. Although operated from Navy frigates, the operational CH-148 Cyclone fleet is under the Canadian Air Force.

    The Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone was developed by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for the Canadian Armed Forces, and is a military variant of the Sikorsky S-92. In the Canadian Air Force's arsenal, the CH-148 is designed to operate from ships replacing the CH-124 Sea King, which the Canadian Air Force used from 1963 to 2018.

    The CH-148 has a fuselage made of a combination of metal and composite materials. The four-blade articulated composite main rotor blades are wider and larger in diameter than those of the S-70 Blackhawk. The tapered blade tip sweeps back and slopes downward to reduce noise and increase lift.

    The CH-148 is equipped with devices to search and locate submarines during ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) missions, and is equipped with a protection system against heat-seeking missile attacks. Several technologies are embedded in the CH-148 Cyclone, such as the Integrated Mission System and Sonobuoy Acoustic Processing System from General Dynamics Canada.

    Meanwhile, the radar uses the APS-143B from Telephonics and the SAFIRE III electro-optical device from Flir Systems. In order to hunt down enemy submarines, there is a HELRAS (Helicopter Long Range Active Sonar) dipping sonar from the L-3. 

    This helicopter is also prepared to survive electronic warfare conditions, namely with the AN/ALQ-210 jammer device produced by Lockheed Martin. Then there is the CMA-2082MH Aircraft Management System from CMC Electronics.

    The CH-148 Cyclone is powered by 2 × General Electric CT7-8A7 turboshaft engines – with a power of 3,000 shp each. This helicopter can reach a maximum speed of 306 km per hour and a cruising speed of 254 km per hour. Cyclone can fly up to a height of 4,600 meters.

    The CH-148 Cyclone has a crew of 4 people (2 pilots; 1 tactical coordinator and 1 sensor operator). The maximum number of passengers/troops carried is 22 people. The CH-148 Cyclone has an empty weight of 7,076 kg and a maximum takeoff weight of 13,290 kg.

    For weapons, the CH-148 Cyclone can carry two light MK-46 torpedoes in BRU-14 mounted in folding weapons pylons. Besides being able to install a door-arm mounted general-purpose machine gun. Divided into three squadrons (Maritime Helicopter Squadron), currently the Canadian Air Force operates 25 CH-148 Cyclone units.

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