Aerospace firm Bell Textron has been awarded an $800 million contract to modernize the Royal Canadian Air Force’s fleet of 85 CH‑146 Griffon helicopters.
The modernization will see the life of the multi-role utility aircraft extended until at least the mid-2030s.
Bell secured the contract as the original manufacturer of the helicopter and owning its intellectual property rights, making it the only company certified to conduct design changes and repairs to the CH‑146 Griffon.
The aerospace firm will perform initial modifications on nine CH‑146 Griffon helicopters and facilitate a competitive process for upgrading the remaining 76 helicopters.
According to Public Services and Procurement Canada, the country recognizes the potential for the Canadian aerospace industry to provide significant contributions to the modernization initiative.
‘Supporting Critical Missions’
Canadian Minister of Public Services and Procurement Filomena Tassi said that the modernization of the CH‑146 Griffon helicopters would bolster the nation’s defense capabilities and support hundreds of jobs for aerospace engineers.
The initiative would also help ensure that the Canadian military is equipped with modernized aircraft to keep the country “safe and secure.”
According to Bell Textron Canada President Steeve Lavoie, the company will collaborate with industry partners to bolster the skills and manpower required to sustain the Griffon aircraft.
“Our 1,300 employees feel privileged to perform the work that will support the fleet of the [Royal Canadian Air Force] for their critical missions in Canada and abroad,” he stated.
Griffon helicopter crews from 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron train for mountain flying in the Pyranees, France, alongside French @Armee_de_lair allies during Exercise #Volfa.
Photos: Cpl Geneviève Beaulieu pic.twitter.com/l51PpO8cfM
— Royal Canadian Air Force (@RCAF_ARC) October 13, 2021
The CH‑146 Griffon
The CH-146 Griffon is a tactical-transport helicopter capable of carrying supplies and performing search and rescue operations.
The aircraft can also perform surveillance and reconnaissance missions, casualty evacuations, and counter-drug operations.
With a length of 17.1 meters (56 feet), the helicopter can fly up to 260 kilometers (161 miles) per hour and cruise up to 656 kilometers (407 miles) without refueling.
The Griffon boasts a GPS-satellite navigation system and a Doppler radar system. It can be fitted with various equipment, including weapons, a searchlight, and a hoist for cargo extraction.