On April 11, Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced that another CH-146 Griffon helicopter will be added to the fleet at 5 Wing Goose Bay, N.L. Three Griffon helicopters will now provide utility helicopter capability at 5 Wing as part of 444 Combat Support Squadron.
“A third Griffon aircraft at 5 Wing Goose Bay will have an immediate positive impact on the operational readiness of the base and provide flexibility to decision makers on the use of Canadian Forces assets in the region,” said Minister MacKay. “This helicopter represents another resource that can contribute to Canada's search and rescue system in support of primary responders in this region.”
The third helicopter provides greater operational flexibility by increasing the potential of having serviceable aircraft to support operations and training. It will also increase the availability of aircraft with which to support the squadron's secondary roles, including support to search and rescue (SAR) missions. Any Canadian Forces aircraft can be called upon to contribute to SAR missions when necessary, in addition to those permanently assigned to this role. Ground SAR in Canada is conducted under the authority of provinces and territories, who may request federal support, including air services.
"Adding to the complement of Griffons at 5 Wing Goose Bay will greatly improve the squadron's ability to conduct and maintain aircrew training, proficiency and experience," said Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Fleming, 5 Wing commander.
The primary role of 444 Combat Support Squadron is to provide utility helicopter airlift and personnel recovery in support of military air operations at 5 Wing Goose Bay. Similar combat support capabilities are established at 3 Wing Bagotville, Que., and 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta.
"We welcome the addition of this third Griffon and are pleased that the Canadian Forces is increasing its presence in our community and its ability to meet the needs of the people here," said Peter Penashue, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador. "The military is an integral part of the economy and culture of our community and I know that another helicopter in the area increases the flexibility of commanders to provide search and rescue assistance."