Canadian Helicopters, Ltd. Wins Afghan Contract
Canadian Helicopters, Ltd. is a firm that provides helicopter services for use in oil & gas, mining and forestry, emergency medical services, police support, and other tasks that include support for the Canadian Forces’ North Warning System. These industries and roles require flight into and through remote areas, while contending with difficult weather and terrain in order to get the job done.
To that end, Canadian Helicopters operates a diverse fleet of Bell Textron, Eurocopter, and Sikorsky platforms. They also operate the Canadian Helicopters School of Advanced Flight Training, which trains elite military and police pilots as part of their customer base. According to the firm, the Commander of the US Navy Helicopter Special Warfare Squadron describes this training as “best in the world”.
That experience and expertise is about to come in very handy, because the firm’s operations will now extend to Afghanistan. As “Allies Absent in Afghanistan – Hummingbird Helicopters Hired” noted back in August 2007, a shortage of helicopters committed by key US allies is forcing the Pentagon to turn to private contractors, in order to cover the shortfall in theater.
Dec 19/08: Canadian Helicopter in Ottawa, Canada won a $31.4 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for helicopters to perform passenger and cargo air transportation services in that country. The order is contracted through the Canadian government’s Canadian Commercial Corp., and includes all of the helicopters, associated personnel, equipment, tools, and maintenance involved.
Canadian Helicopters’ release [PDF] says that the contract covers 3 fully crewed and maintained Bell 212 “Twin Huey” helicopters, essentially civilian versions of the USMC’s and USAF’s UH-1Ns. Revenue to the Fund is expected to be in excess of US$ 120 million over 5 years, assuming all option periods are exercised and expected hours are flown. That is far, far more than simply buying and crewing equivalent UH-1Y helicopters would cost – but the contract includes full operations in Afghanistan, as well as risk premiums that would be covered by insurance in other situations.
Work began on Dec 19/08, and the contract runs until Nov 30/13, but contract funds will expire at the end of the Pentagon’s current fiscal year on Sept 30/08. This contract was a competitive acquisition, with 4 bids received by the United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) Directorate of Acquisition at Scott Air Force Base, IL (HTC711-09-D-0022).