Through Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Government of Canada is modernizing its military equipment to support the Canadian Armed Forces and keep Canadians safe. The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, on behalf of the Honourable Minister Filomena Tassi, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced the Government of Canada has awarded a contract worth nearly $800 million to Bell Textron Canada Limited (BTCL) of Mirabel, Quebec, to extend the life of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s fleet of 85 CH-146 Griffon helicopters until at least the mid-2030s.
As the original manufacturer of the CH-146 Griffon helicopters, BTCL owns the intellectual property rights for the aircraft and is therefore the only company certified to assess and define necessary design changes and associated repairs to the aircraft. Under the contract, the company will perform modifications on the first 9 helicopters, and will then manage a competitive process to sub-contract suppliers to install modifications on the remaining 76 helicopters. In January 2019, Canada announced plans to modernize and extend the life of the existing 85 CH-146 helicopters to 2031.
The Bell CH-146 Griffon is a multi-role utility helicopter designed by Bell Helicopter Textron as a variant of the Bell 412EP for the Canadian Armed Forces. 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). Minor disassembly permits transport of the Griffon by CC-130 Hercules or CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft for long-distance deployment. The Griffon can be equipped with various specialized bolt-on mission kits which can enhance the performance of the Griffon.
Canada recognizes the potential for the Canadian aerospace industry to provide significant contributions to this project. BTCL established Team Griffon, a made-in-Canada solution for this project, which includes CMC Electronics and Pratt & Whitney Canada. Through the application of the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, BTCL has also committed to business activities that will ensure opportunities for the broader Canadian supply chain, including small and medium-sized businesses, and motivate innovation in key industrial capabilities within Canada’s world-leading aerospace sector.