Canada Upgrading CFB Shearwater
Back in 1994, Canadian Forces Base Shearwater was downsized and most of its tenants moved to nearby Halifax, Nova Scotia on Canada’s east cost. The base, which had been active since 1918 and supported the RCAF for almost as long, became a heliport. Some of its land was set aside for sale.
All that changed when the Canadian government finally decided to purchase an H-92 Superhawk variant as its CH-148 maritime helicopter in November 2004. DND’s C$3.2 billion 20-year in-service support contract required them to provide functional space within 12 Wing infrastructure for Sikorsky to set up various integrated support services. Suddenly, the lost land had to be restored – and now, C$ 170 million (about $160 million) will be spent to ensure that CFB Shearwater has the promised capabilities when 12 Wing trades in its CH-124 Sea Kings for new CH-148 Cyclones.
The program has two components: a heliport upgrade (C$ 24.3 million), and service and support facility tear-downs and rebuilds. The overall effort is expected to lead to 1,500 jobs in the region while it lasts; other tasks include:
Hangar demolition, reconstruction of an operations facility for 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron & 406 Maritime Operational Training Squadron (C$ 44.4 million)
Existing maintenance hangars are inadequate; they will be replaced with a first and second line maintenance facility to accommodate 12 Air Maintenance Squadron (C$ 49.3 million)
A common support facility for Sikorsky’s warehouse operation and field office, 12 Wing Shearwater Operations staff, the Helicopter Operational Test and Evaluation Facility, and aircrew flight planning and support functions (C$ 51.6 million)
423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron enjoys the unusual distinction of having a famous comedian as its honorary commander. “Colonel” Rick Mercer is best described to Americans as a cross between Dennis Miller and Jon Stewart.
May 14/07: May 14/07: A $13.6 million contract to Brycon Construction Ltd of Dartmouth, NS for the Heliport Conversion Project at 12 Wing Shearwater.
The Project will upgrade the landing area, taxiway, approach lighting and training areas at 12 Wing to support safe CH-124 Sea King operations and future CH-148 Cyclone. An existing runway and 2 taxiways will be reconstructed and resurfaced to provide a new landing area and taxiways, and training areas will be built. Navigational aids, site fencing and access roads will be relocated or modified to ensure security and flight safety, and the heliport will see improvements to electrical systems and approach lighting. See May 29/07 DND release.
May 11/07: Bird Construction Company is awarded a contract for approximately C$ 98.3 million.
- DND Canada (May 11/07) – Backgrounder: Shearwater Construction Projects