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Canada Awards Contract to Extend Life of RCAF Fleet of 85 CH-146 Griffon Helicopters to Bell Textron Canada


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.

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.

Canada’s aerospace sector ranks among the top 5 globally for the production of flight simulators, engines and civil aircraft. In 2020, it contributed close to 207,000 jobs and over $22 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product.

“I am pleased to announce this important contract award to Bell Textron Canada Limited to keep 85 Griffon helicopters in service, while supporting jobs here in Canada. Canadians take great pride in their armed forces, and it’s important to make sure its members have what they need to keep Canada safe and secure.” The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

“Canada’s aerospace sector is a world leader and a huge benefit to the entire Canadian economy. This project will have an incredible economic impact, benefiting the economy, the supply chain and, most importantly, the aerospace workers, who are the best in the world.” The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“We are proudly celebrating the award and implementation of the Griffon Limited Life Extension project for the Royal Canadian Air Force by the Government of Canada. Our teams, located from the East to the West Coast, in collaboration with industry partners, ensure that the skills required to sustain the Griffon remain resident in Canada. Our 1,300 employees feel privileged to perform the work that will support the fleet of the RCAF for their critical missions in Canada and abroad.” Steeve Lavoie, President, Bell Textron Canada Ltd.


• In 1992, BTCL was awarded a non-competitive contract to provide National Defence with 100 CH 146 Griffon helicopters, a military variant of the civilian Bell 412EP helicopter. As of 2022, 85 CH-146 Griffon helicopters remain in service.

• The CH 146 helicopters were delivered between 1994 and 1998, and have since fulfilled multiple mission requirements both at home and abroad, including tactical transport, emergency response, as well as search and rescue.

• BTCL is the original equipment manufacturer for the CH-146 helicopters and retains all intellectual property and proprietary information rights to perform ongoing maintenance work, or to sub-contract it as required.

• The first upgraded helicopter is expected to be delivered in 2024 and the remaining will be upgraded by 2028.

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