Vanguard Magazine

Aug/Sep 2013

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 47

C CH-147 CHINOOK by Chris Thatcher AIR MOBILITY REVIVING A KEY CAPABILITY During a visit to Afghanistan in 2011, Major-General Richard Foster shared a flight on a Chinook D with a 20-year old signaller, a short hop by helicopter from Camp Nathan Smith to the Kandahar Airfield that by road could have been a perilous trip. The signaller was on his way home to family, the deputy commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force recalls, and "the look of relief on the young man's face that he did not have to risk the possibility of an IED on the road said it all." On June 27, the RCAF officially took possession of the first of 15 Boeing CH-147 F-model Chinook helicopters during a ceremony in Ottawa, returning the distinctive tandem-rotor, heavy-lift capability to the Canadian Armed Forces after a 21-year absence. "Canadian aircraft transporting Canadian troops in hostile territory is a fundamental requirement to operations and mission success," Foster told officials gathered at the Ottawa airport to welcome the Chinook, which was later escorted by a pair of Bell CH-146 Griffons to its home base with 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa. "Its versatility, impressive capacity, and what we call long legs make it perfect for operations in our vast nation's harsh territory and demanding environment. In future expeditionary roles, our Chinook F represents the tactical enabler of air mobility for the Canadian army." While the F-model may look like the helicopter that characterized the Vietnam war era, "it's not your grandfather's Chinook," said Peter MacKay, the Minister of National Defence who was recently shuffled to Minister of Justice, a reference perhaps to the RCAF's lengthy history with the older models. In fact, the Canadian F-model was "designed especially for Canada's unique needs," said Kerry-Lynn Findlay, the former associate minister of National Defence and now Minister of Revenue, equipped with an extended range fuel tank that doubles the endurance of the standard F model. It also features an increased lift capacity of 20,000 pounds, enough to sling one of its Griffon escorts, and can carry 35 fully equipped combat troops or the equivalent of 11,363 kilograms of cargo. 12 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013 The Chinook comes with a new state-of-the-art electrical system to support a sophisticated defensive suite, and contains improvements to the radar and laser warning systems. "The Chinook truly brings a whole new rotary wing capability to the CAF," she said. It's also a sizeable investment, she acknowledged, although during a week in which the Minister of Public Works and Government Services admitted the hiring of an independent consultant to review the ability of Sikorsky to deliver the RCAF's maritime

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Vanguard Magazine - Aug/Sep 2013