Too big to cancel? Tories spent $1.7 billion on troubled chopper program - InfoNews

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Too big to cancel? Tories spent $1.7 billion on troubled chopper program

A Sikorsky Cyclone helicopter is pictured during a flight test. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP,HO
January 09, 2014 - 1:00 PM

OTTAWA - Internal documents show more than $1.7 billion has already been spent on the elusive effort to upgrade Canada's helicopter fleet.

The money spent so far on new CH-148 Cyclone choppers may explain why the Harper government chose last week to stick with the troubled program.

The eye-popping figure — about 30 per cent of the overall $5.3-billion budget — could have meant a far worse political firestorm for the Conservatives than the one that accompanied the ill-fated F-35 stealth fighter.

Last fall, in the aftermath of an independent report on the program, the government said it was looking at other aircraft, and even met with other manufacturers.

A series of documents, obtained by The Canadian Press through the Access to Information Act, show the cash was spent on "acquisition progress payments" and "in-service support set-up."

So far, the program has delivered only four test helicopters that National Defence has refused to formally accept, and the Department of Public Works has embarked on a plan to renegotiate the contract.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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