Military Factory logo

Leonardo (AgustaWestland) CH-149 Cormorant

Canada (2000)
Picture of Leonardo (AgustaWestland) CH-149 Cormorant Medium-Lift Utility Helicopter

The Leonardo CH-149 Cormorant serves solely with the Royal Canadian Air Force across three squadrons.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Leonardo (AgustaWestland) CH-149 Cormorant Medium-Lift Utility Helicopter.  Entry last updated on 5/28/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Royal Canadian Air Force's CH-149 "Cormorant" helicopter is the Canadian version of the Agusta Westland AW101 / EH101 "Merlin" medium-lift transport / utility helicopter. In its original form, the EH101 was developed to a 1977 British Defence Ministry requirement for a new, all-modern Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopter and the prototype first flew on October 9th, 1987 with service entry (finally) granted in 1999. It was a joint-development between Westland of Britain and Agusta of Italy and both brands now fall under the Leonardo (of Italy) name.

With that backdrop, the Royal Canadian Air force committed to the type in 1987 when it contracted for forty-eight of the helicopters to serve under the designation CH-149 "Cormorant". These would be used to succeed the aging fleets of Boeing CH-113 "Labradors" ("Sea Knights") and Sikorsky CH-124 "Sea Kings". The Cormorant was adopted by the RCAF specifically for the Search & Rescue (SAR) role.

A first-flight of the Canadian version of the EH101 occurred on May 31st, 2000 and service entry followed that same year. The original forty-eight order (which was reduced to 42) was eventually cut down to just fifteen helicopters and first-operations involving the helicopter began in 2002 and replaced the aging CH-113 helicopters then in service.

The CH-149 has a standard operating crew of five which includes two pilots, a flight engineer and two equipment technicians. The rear passenger section can seat up to fifteen combat-ready troopers or twelve medical litters and their accompanying staff. There is a rectangular side-mounted sliding door at the starboard side of the fuselage as well as a powered loading / unloading ramp at the rear of the fuselage (under the tail stem). Empty weight is 23,150lb against an MTOW of 32,200lb. Power is from 3 x General Electric CT7-8E turboshaft engines of 3,000 horsepower each driving the five-bladed main rotor assembly and four-bladed tail rotor unit. The main rotor sits close to the engine compartment and the tail rotor is set to face the portside of the aircraft. A wheeled tricycle undercarriage (retractable) is used for ground-running.

The CH-149 is designed to operate in extremely volatile conditions including mountainous and cold weather conditions and thusly carries a complete ice-protection / de-icing system. The main rotors are affixed with titanium strips along their leading edges to reinforcement the blades as they rotate and also help reduce vibrations - a particularly helpful quality when attempting hovering actions in windy conditions.

The Cormorant has a never-exceed-speed of 173 miles per hour and ranges out to 865 miles. Its listed service ceiling is 10,000 feet with a rate-of-climb reaching 2,010 feet-per-minute.

A modernization initiative announced in March of 2017 was confirmed as a Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) for the series. This will upgrade sensors, the radar fit, general search-and-tracking equipment and install a new version of the 3,000 horsepower GE CT7-8E engine. There is a separate initiative to upgrade ex-U.S. VH-71 "Kestrel" helicopters (nine were produced for the USMC in the abandoned "Marine One" venture) to the CH-149 standard and increase the size of the existing Cormorant fleet for the RCAF.

The CH-149 is in use with the 103 Search and Rescue Squadron as well as the 413 and 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron(s).

Another helicopter under development for the RCAF is the Sikorsky CH-148 "Cyclone". This model is being built as a maritime platform to directly succeed the CH-124 "Sea King" series mentioned earlier. Introduction of this oft-delayed model is set for sometime in 2018 and eleven have been completed to date (2017) with some 28 total contracted for. The design is based in the Sikorsky S-92 model family though a wholly militarized form at its core. The CH-148 is detailed elsewhere on this site.

Once the CH-148 enters formal service, it should operate side-by-side in the RCAF inventory with the existing CH-149 fleet.

Any available statistics for the Leonardo (AgustaWestland) CH-149 Cormorant Medium-Lift Utility Helicopter are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).




General Assessment (BETA)
Firepower  
Bar chart graphic
Performance  
Bar chart graphic
Survivability  
Bar chart graphic
Versatility  
Bar chart graphic
Impact  
Bar chart graphic


Rating: 44 (of 100)
The rating is an internal assessment derived from forty factors pertaining to this entry.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (174mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Leonardo (AgustaWestland) CH-149 Cormorant's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
15
15


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Canada
Service Year: 2000
Classification Type: Medium-Lift Utility Helicopter
Manufacturer(s): Leonardo (AgustaWestlant) - Italy
Production Units: 15
Operational Status: Active, In-Service
Global Operators:
Canada
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Leonardo (AgustaWestland) CH-149 Cormorant model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
5


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
74.80 ft


Meters
22.8 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
61.02 ft


Meters
18.6 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
21.82 ft


Meters
6.65 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
23,149 lb


Kilograms
10,500 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
32,187 lb


Kilograms
14,600 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
3 x General Electric T700-T6A1 turboshaft engines developing 1,725 horsepower each and driving a five-bladed main rotor and four-bladed tail rotor.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
174 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
280 kph


Knots
151 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
870 mi


Kilometers
1,400 km


Nautical Miles
756 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
9,843 ft


Meters
3,000 m


Miles
1.86 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
2,010 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
613 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• CH-149 - Base Series Designation