Canada’s Auditor General Raises Concerns Over Army Helicopters Purchase

26 October 2010 (Last Updated October 26th, 2010 18:30)

Canadian Auditor General Sheila Fraser has raised concerns over schedule delays and cost increases in the procurement of army helicopters. The military recently spent C$11bn on 15 CH-147 Chinook medium to heavy-lift and 28 CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters, according to Agence France P

Canadian Auditor General Sheila Fraser has raised concerns over schedule delays and cost increases in the procurement of army helicopters.

The military recently spent C$11bn on 15 CH-147 Chinook medium to heavy-lift and 28 CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters, according to Agence France Presse.

"National Defence underestimated and understated the complexity and developmental nature of the helicopters it intended to buy. The contract award process was not fair, open and transparent," she said.

The helicopters use of off-the-shelf technologies and substantial modifications to the basic models resulted in a 70% cost increase and a five-year delivery delay.

The military's lack of oversight in the new sole-source procurement process also led to a shortage of funds to operate and support the helicopters in the long-term.

"Moreover, without sufficient funds, National Defence may have to curtail planned training and operations," she added.

Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay, however, accepted the auditor general's recommendations for streamlining complex acquisitions.

The government had allotted tens of billions of dollars in recent budgets for new fighter jets, navy frigates and other military equipment.