CH-149 Cormorant


CH-149 Cormorant



The Royal Canadian Air Force's (RCAF) only dedicated search and rescue (SAR) helicopter, the rugged CH-149 Cormorant can operate in even the most severe conditions, making it ideal for Canada’s challenging geography and climate. Whether coming to the aid of a ship’s crew, an injured mountain climber or a lost hiker, the Cormorant gets the job done.

Powered by three engines, the CH-149 Cormorant has exceptional long-range capability—it can fly for over 1000 km without refuelling. With its ample cargo space and rear-ramp access, the helicopter can carry up to 12 stretchers or a load of 5000kg.

Because of its shaped rotor blades—strengthened by titanium strips along the leading edge—the CH-149 has superior lift and flight speed, and significantly less vibration than many other helicopters. This advanced system allows the Cormorant to start and stop rotors in very windy conditions—over 50 knots—and also helps provide a stable hover for critical hoisting operations.

Equipped with a full ice protection system, the Cormorant routinely conducts rescues that would have been impossible for its predecessor, the CH-113 Labrador.

Technical Specifications

Technical Specifications

Aircraft Description

The CH-149 Cormorant is a fully certified off-the-shelf civilian utility helicopter. Modified from the military specifications of the European EH-101 medium-lift military transport helicopter, the CH-149 includes search-and-rescue-specific equipment and physical characteristics and performance requirements to meet Canada’s SAR responsibilities.

Modifications include:

  • a rear-fuselage ramp
  • a single rescue door with both hoists on one side



Rotor span



6.5 m

Maximum Gross Weight

14,600 kg


Three General Electric T700-T6A1 Turbines


278 km/h


1,018 km


Two 273 kg rescue hoists, 4,536 kg cargo hook with frame, storage racks for SAR equipment and 12 stretchers.

Year(s) procured

2001 to 2003

Quantity in CF



9 Wing Gander, NL
14 Wing Greenwood, NS
19 Wing Comox, BC


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