Monday, June 12, 2017

Griffon Helicopter Replacement not in the Cards

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch 

A number of aerospace firms exhibiting at the recently held CANSEC 2017 defence trade show in Ottawa highlighted the helicopters they hoped they could offer the Canadian government as a replacement for the RCAF’s Griffons. The companies had heard Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan suggest that a replacement would be needed for the Griffon.

16 May 2006<br>
4 Wing, Cold Lake, Alberta<br><br>

2 CH 146 Griffons from 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron take off on a mission.<p>

Elements of 408 Squadron deployed to 4 Wing Cold Lake along with 17 Wing Winnipeg's Mission Support Unit for Exercise Maple Flag XXXIX and form the Air Expeditionary Unit.<p>

Maple Flag is an annual international air combat exercise that attracts more than 5,000 participants from all over the globe, which engage in a simulated, 10-day air campaign. The exercise provides aircrews with realistic training in a modern simulated air combat environment. Maple Flag provides critically important training for Canadian and allied aircrews.<br><br>

Photo by WO Serge Peters, Air Public Affairs<p>

Le 16 mai 2006<br>
4e Escadre Cold Lake (Alberta)<br><br>

Deux CH-146 Griffon du 408e Escadron tactique d'hélicoptères partent en mission.<p>

Des éléments du 408e Escadron ont été déployés à la 4e Escadre Cold
Griffon helicopters take off on a mission. DND photo. 
Romain Trapp, president of Airbus Helicopters in Canada, briefed journalists at CANSEC pointing out the capabilities of the company’s H145M as a possible replacement for the Griffon. “We made the business case by showing (the RCAF) that by going to a new platform, the Canadian taxpayers would save more than $1 billion,” he explained. Those saving would be made over a 10-year period.

Leonardo Helicopters also has a variety of aircraft that could replace the CH-146.

But the Liberal government’s newly released defence policy did not follow through with a Griffon replacement.

Instead, the Liberals will embark on what they are calling the “CH-146 Griffon Limited Life Extension.”

They didn’t go into details but the emphasis here is “limited.”

It is unclear whether that project will be a stop-gap life extension until a new helicopter procurement could take place.

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