400 Squadron only from 1996-Present
The Bell CH-146 Griffon is a multi-role utility helicopter of the Huey family, designed by Bell Helicopter Textron as a variant for the Canadian Armed Forces of the Bell 412EP. The CH-146 is used in a wide variety of roles, including aerial firepower, reconnaissance, search and rescue and aero-mobility tasks.
It has a crew of three, can carry up to ten troops and has a cruising speed of 220–260 km/h (120–140 kn; 140–160 mph).
Design and Development
The CH-146 is the Canadian military designation for the Bell 412CF, a modified Bell 412, ordered by Canada in 1992. The CH-146 was built at Mirabel, Quebec, at the Bell Canadian plant. It was delivered between 1995 and 1997 in one of two configurations, the Combat Support Squadron (CSS) version for search and rescue missions, and the Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter (UTTH), which carries a crew of three and an eight-man section.
The Griffon can be equipped with various specialized bolt-on mission kits which can enhance the performance of the Griffon, from increasing range to improving protection against enemy fire, etc.
While the CH-146 can be equipped with a total of 13 seats in the cargo area in addition to the two in front for the aircrew, weight restrictions usually result in a normal combat load of eight equipped troops or fewer depending on armament and fuel carried. The aircraft can also be configured for up to six stretchers.
Minor disassembly permits transport of the Griffon by CC-130 Hercules or CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft for long-distance deployment.
Maintenance and Upgrades
The CH-146 Griffon is forecast to be retired in 2021. Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Inc. was awarded a C$640 million contract to overhaul and repair the CH-146 fleet until retirement in 2021. The contact includes options to extend the contract up to 2025 if necessary.
In January 2019, Canada announced plans to modernize and extend the life of the existing 85 CH-146 helicopters to 2031.
The Canadian Forces purchased 100 aircraft and received them in 1995–1997. In 2005, nine CH-146s were sold to the Allied Wings Consortium to be used as trainers at 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School.
The CH-146 Griffon have been deployed in various operations in Canada since their introduction in 1995. They have been deployed during the Operation Saguenay in 1996 and Operation Assistance in 1997. The CH-146 have also played a major role during the great ice storm of 1998. They were deployed during the 28th G8 summit and 36th G8 summit. They were also deployed to secure the 2010 Winter Olympics during the Operation Podium. In May 2016, four Griffons were deployed as part of Operation LENTUS 16-01, to provide emergency services for victims of the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire.