Canada could scrap C$5 billion contract for Sikorsky helicopters

OTTAWA, Sept 5 Thu Sep 5, 2013 5:57pm EDT

OTTAWA, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Canada could scrap a C$5 billion ($4.8 billion) deal to buy maritime helicopters from United Technologies Corp's Sikorsky unit, the government indicated on Thursday.

The contract has been plagued by delays and problems.

"The government is considering other options for the maritime helicopter project," a spokeswoman for federal Public Works Minister Diane Finley said in an e-mailed statement.

"We are conducting an analysis of price and availability of other aircrafts manufactured by other vendors."

Canada signed the contract in 2004 for 28 of Sikorsky's Cyclone helicopters, the first of which was supposed to be delivered by early 2009.

The firm, which has so far provided just a handful of Cyclones for training purposes, said earlier this year that some of the delays were caused by major modifications requested by Canada.

Finley's statement made clear Canada had yet to take a final decision on what it will do. Ottawa has already fined Sikorsky almost C$90 million for failure to meet its obligations.

The helicopters are due to replace Canada's creaking fleet of Sea Kings, which first came into service some 50 years ago.

A spokesman for Sikorsky said he could not immediately comment.

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