TORONTO (CP) -- A major helicopter manufacturer has acknowledged it is scrambling to find a way to equip Canada's next fleet of military helicopters to deal with potential oil leaks in the gearbox, a report said Tuesday.
The design work continues even though Sikorsky International Operations Inc. should have already started delivering 28 Cyclone MH-92 helicopters under a 2004 contract with Ottawa, the Globe and Mail said.
The first fully equipped helicopter is now scheduled to land in Canada in 2012.
But critics and experts expressed fears that issues such as the gearbox design will hold up the completion of the $5-billion contract.
A gearbox leak is the likeliest cause of a deadly crash of a Sikorsky civilian helicopter in Newfoundland last month, in which 17 people died. A similar leak was blamed for an emergency landing in Australia last summer.
The Globe and Mail reported Monday the Sikorsky civilian S-92 lacks the mechanism to fly for 30 minutes in a "run-dry" emergency.
Documents filed with the Joint Aviation Authorities, a European certification body, show the S-92 couldn't meet the capability, but won an exemption by establishing that the chances of gearbox oil loss are "extremely remote."