Tactical Helicopter Squadrons participate in pre-deployment preparation for Mali mission 

CH -147 Chinook helicopter
Members of the Canadian Medical Emergency Response Force Protection Team set a perimeter for the CH -147 Chinook helicopter during pre-deployment training for Task Force Mali in Wainwright, Alberta. Photo: Corporal Andrew Kelly, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

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In late May, helicopters and personnel from the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF’s) 450 and 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadrons completed an exercise to validate their capabilities in anticipation of an eventual deployment of a Task Force to Mali.

The pre-deployment preparation achieved the integration of the CH-146 Griffon and CH-147F Chinook helicopters, the validation of the Forward Aeromedical Evacuation capability, and certification of the Headquarters team. The scenarios were designed to prepare the Task Force to operate in a complex environment that mirrored the realities of the peace support operation planned for Mali.

“The advanced tactical aviation capabilities of the Royal Canadian Air Force will make an invaluable contribution to the United Nations Peace Support Operations in Mali. The Task Force is well equipped and has formed as an effective composite aviation detachment to fully empower our airmen and airwomen to deliver their support to MINUSMA,” said Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger, RCAF Commander.

The Task Force will provide two CH-147F Chinook helicopters from 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, based in Petawawa, Ont. and four CH-146 Griffon helicopters from 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, based in Edmonton, Alta.

The CH-147F Chinook is an advanced multi-mission, medium to heavy-lift transport helicopter. It is used to transport equipment and personnel during domestic or deployed operations. The CH-146 Griffons will serve as an armed escort for the Chinooks as they carry out critical mission requirements. The Canadian Armed Forces will also provide a number of medically-trained personnel who will facilitate medical evacuations for partners and allied forces on the ground and provide logistical support for the mission.

On March 19, 2018, Canada announced its commitment to deploy a Task Force made up of medium utility and heavy lift transport helicopters for up to 12 months to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Planning and preparations have been underway since that time, with a view to deploying the Task Force in August 2018.

Canada’s contribution will join 57 MINUSMA partner countries in their continued efforts to bring sustainable peace and stability to Mali and the Sahel.

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