Canadian Wings :: The History & Heritage of the Royal Canadian Air Force


The CH-146 was purchased by the CF to replace four existing helicopters, the CH-136 Kiowa in the observation role, the CH-135 Twin Huey in the army tactical role, the CH-118 Iroquois in the base rescue role and the heavy lift CH-147 Chinook. From the time of its purchase defence analysts have been critical of the aircraft pointing to its procurement as politically motivated and that the aircraft cannot adequately fill any of its intended roles. It has been termed "a civilian designed and built aircraft, with only a coat of green paint."

The Griffon was selected by the army for its flexibility to do more things collectively than the helicopters it replaced. It is used for everything from airlift of equipment and troops, reconnaissance and surveillance missions through direction and control of fire to aeromedical support, casualty evacuation and Search and Rescue (SAR).

The four-bladed Griffon helicopter is powered by two Pratt Whitney Canada PT6T-3D Twin-Pac turboshaft engines. The Griffon has an all-up weight of 5,398 kgs (11,900 pounds) with standard seating for nine and maximum seating for 10 plus the three crew members. The Griffon crew of two pilots and one flight engineer must be skilled in a wide range of battlefield and non-battlefield tasks. Their primary mission remains transporting troops and their equipment. Lightly armed with a C6 machine gun mounted in open doorways, the CH-146 Griffon can carry up to twelve lightly equipped troops or eight fully equipped troops.

The CH-146 is currently employed by the following squadrons:

Tactical Helicopter role

  • 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron - CFB Borden
  • 403 Helicopter Operational Training Squadron - CFB Gagetown
  • 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron - CFB Edmonton
  • 427 Tactical Helicopter Squadron - CFB Petawawa
  • 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron - CFB Valcartier
  • 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron - St-Hubert, Quebec

Search and Rescue role

  • 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron - 8 Wing Trenton

Combat Support Squadrons

  • 417 Combat Support Squadron - 4 Wing CFB Cold Lake
  • 439 Combat Support Squadron - 3 Wing CFB Bagotville
  • 444 Combat Support Squadron - 5 Wing CFB Goose Bay
aircraft specifications
CDN Reg: CH-146
Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Textron Canada (Mirabel, Quebec)
Crew / Passengers: 2 pilots & 1 Flight Engineer plus up to 12 lightly equipped troops, 8 fully equipped troops
Power Plant(s): Pratt Whitney Canada PT6T-3D Twin-Pac turboshaft engines
Performance: Max Speed: 162 mph (269 km/h) Cruising Speed: 136 mph (219 km/h) Hover Ceiling: 10,200 ft (3,109 m) Range: 408 mi (656 km)
Weights: Empty: 7,511 lb (3,407 kg) Gross: 11,900 lb (5,398 kg)
Dimensions: Rotor Dia: 46 ft 0 in (14.02 m) Length: 56 ft 2 in (17.12 m) Height: 15 ft 3 in ( 4.65 m)
Armament: 7.62 mm C6 GPMG optionally mounted in one or both doors
7.62 mm Minigun optionally mounted in one or both doors
Removable armour to protect crew and cabin area occupants from small arms fire and shrapnel
Bell CH-146 Griffon

Bell CH-146 Griffon Bell CH-146 Griffon Bell CH-146 Griffon Bell CH-146 Griffon

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