HALIFAX - The long-awaited first flight of Canada's new navy helicopter occurred over the weekend in Florida.

However, the Cyclone helicopter built by Sikorsky Corp. still doesn't include key on-board computer systems and is expected to be over a year late for final delivery.

The first CH-148 Cyclone was supposed to be delivered by January 2009, but the Defence Department says the aircraft has been delayed until the middle of 2010 due to changes in its design.

A Sikorsky news release states the aircraft hovered and accomplished low-speed handling tasks during a test flight that it calls "a huge milestone."

The Cyclones are being built to replace Canada's aged Sea King helicopter fleet.

Sikorsky won a $5-billion contract in 2004 to build 28 of the CH-148 Cyclones.