No matter where their duties take them, the men and women of the Canadian Forces know they can rely on the CH‑146 Griffon helicopter to get them there and back safely. From providing tactical airlift to soldiers to rescuing civilians in the High Arctic and providing support during natural disasters here at home, Canada’s Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter (UTTH) has served faithfully.
In service with the Royal Canadian Air Force since 1995, the Griffon's primary role is tactical transportation of troops and material. It is also used at home and abroad for search and rescue (SAR) missions, surveillance and reconnaissance, casualty evacuation and counter-drug operations. The helicopter has also played a key role in many national and international humanitarian relief operations, including those for Manitoba’s Red River flood in 1997 (Operation Assistance) and in 2011 (Op Forge); Eastern Canada’s ice storm in 1998 (Operation Recuperation); and the United Nations effort to stabilize Haiti in 2004 (Operation Halo) and again in response to the catastrophic earthquake that struck Port-aux-Prince in January 2010 (Op Hestia). The CH‑146 Griffon helicopters deployed on Operation Jaguar in 2011 as Canada’s contribution of military aviation and search-and-rescue capability to support the Jamaica Defence Force.
When it joined Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing, deployed on Operation Athena, the Griffon utility tactical transport helicopter helped reduce the risk of exposing personnel to ambushes, land mines and improvised explosive devices by providing increased protection to movement of troops by transport helicopter and road convoys.
The Griffon is used at home to support Army training, and for a wide variety of other missions. Griffons based at 8 Wing Trenton are also used as SAR primary assets. The Griffon can be equipped with a hoist that enables it to extract people and a cargo hook that lets it transport cargo from almost any terrain.
The Griffon can also be equipped with a Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) system, a Wescam MX-15 electro-optical imaging system, a powerful Nitesun searchlight, and armoured floors and crew seats, helping the crew to accomplish their various missions. A variety of self defence weapons can also be fitted for deployed operations.
The aircraft can carry up to 13 people (two pilots, a flight engineer and 10 passengers) and has a maximum gross weight of nearly 5400 kilograms. The Griffon can reach speeds up to 260 kilometres per hour.