— CF Helicopter — CH-124 Troop-Carrier Conversion
Going Commando – A Last Fling for the 'Sea Thing'?
The CF's aged Sea King shipboard helicopter
wouldn't make ideal troop carriers but five have been converted for that role. Despite rumours of
going to Afghanistan, these Sea Kings would
be a stop-gap for the Standing Contingency Task Force  which may be delivered by sea. Thus it made sense to use a
naval helicopter – and the CF's bird-in-hand is the CH-124. In its defence, the CH-124 is
armed, is familiar to Navy deck crews, and its tail/rotor fold compactly for shipboard storage.
 The SCTF is a high-readiness special operations force meant to be ready to deploy within 10 days' notice.
Meant to "provide an initial CF presence", the SCTF would act as a stablization force for up to six months
or, if needed, lead the way for "larger, follow-on forces". As for the CH-124 as stop-gap, Jane's
quoted LCol Danny Houde, Directorate Air Strategic Planning, saying that "the CH-148 Cyclone
is the option that we are looking at." As navalized Sikorsky H-92s, Cyclones make sense but so too would the
CF choice of medium-lift chopper.
 Officially, the Sea King HC.4, this is the Royal Navy's version of a troop-carrier devised for export
– the Westland Commando Mk.2. It is interesting to note the RN's newest Sea King variant, the
HC.6CR. As with the CF's concept, this is an interim conversion of redundant ASW airframes – in this
case, six HAS.6s stripped of sonar, radar, and fitted with 12 troop seats. The HC.6CR deployed to Bosnia in
2004. Note: most EAPS are fitted to Westland-built Sea Kings. This aircraft's
Rolls-Royce Gnome engine is a licence-built version of GE's T58.
 The first CH-124B-2 HELTAS conversion , 12401, crashed on take-off from HMCS Iroquois
on 27 Feb 2003. After returning to Halifax, the badly-damaged Sea King was recovered and rebuilt as
an instructional airframe. CH12401 will never be returned to active CF service.
 This Integrated Tactical Effects Experiment actually ran 07-to-20 November, culminating in CH-124 troop-carriers
flying troops ship-to- shore in North Carolina while, at the same time, 10 LAV IIIs (in landing craft from the LSD-44,
USS Gunston Hall) stormed Onslow Beach. 403 (Tac) OTS trained eleven Sea King pilots at CFB Gagetown,
NB in preparation for the Standing Contingency Force's November ITEE.
Photo Credits — Canadian
Forces/Department of National Defence, except as noted: UK Ministry of Defence,
Royal Air Force / MoD, Ian MacCorquodale (Mac's Naval Photography), Jean-Pierre
Bonin/JetPhotos.Net, Ross Spenard, and 12e Régiment blindé du