Aerospace sector gets federal support for innovative helicopters

An aerospace consortium led by Québec-based Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Ltd. is receiving $49.5 million from the federal government to develop innovative technologies for integration into next-generation helicopters. Support was provided through the Strategic Innovation Fund. With fully autonomous aerial systems, the innovative helicopters will be designed to fly either with or without crew on board. Other planned innovations will relate to energy efficiency, environmental sustainability and noise pollution reduction. The project is touted to generate or maintain more than 300 Canadian jobs, gain unprecedented sizable grounds in international markets and pour in $178 million to Canada’s GDP in the next five years. Among the 18 industry and academic partners bent on solidifying Canada’s position as the leading global centre for innovation in the vertical lift and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) segments are Pratt & Whitney Canada, CMC Electronics, Esterline Technologies Corporation, several small and medium-sized businesses and nine Canadian universities. Through this project, Bell Helicopter and its partners are infusing more than $125 million in Canada’s aerospace industry, which includes 700 firms. The sector contributes $28 billion in GDP and supports more than 200,000 jobs.