The Royal Canadian Navy’s CH148 Cyclone helicopter has conducted its first anti-submarine warfare (ASW) events with the Victoria-class submarine HMCS Windsor off the coast of Nova Scotia.
The event is a part of the ongoing operational test and evaluation (OT&E) conducted by the Helicopter Test and Evaluation Facility (HOTEF) at 12 Wing Shearwater, the naval aviation base of Canada.
The OT&E is intended to test the aircraft’s combat effectiveness, develop tactical procedures, and validate doctrine prior to the deployment of the new maritime helicopter to front-line squadrons.
HOTEF pilot major Erik Weigelin said that the Cyclone tested its sonobuoy processing system by using passive sonobuoys to detect and track HMCS Windsor.
Weigelin said: “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 having Windsor as a target allowed the crews to hone our equipment and develop a solid baseline of performance for the tracking of real submarine targets.”
The CH148 crews simulated the submarine movements and noise patterns using expendable mobile ASW training targets (EMATTs) to train the HOTEF crew on tactical procedures, which will be used by the crew of CH148 after it enters into service.
Weigelin added: “Accurate and effective initial equipment settings, in combination with clear, concise and easily repeatable procedures, is key to maximising 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.”
The CH148 crew also conducted 16 hours of OT&E embarked on HMCS Montréal.
The CH148 helicopter is slated to undergo the OT&E by participating in combined warfare exercises in the Atlantic Ocean until this month.
Image: CH148 conducts OT&E with HMCS Montréal. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright / Royal Canadian Navy.