The Canadian Government has awarded a contract to Bell Textron Canada Limited (BTCL) for the life extension of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) CH-146 fleet.

The estimated value of the contract is approximately $631.04m (C$800m).

This announcement was made by Canada’s Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, on behalf of the Public Services and Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi.

Tassi said: “I am pleased to announce this important contract award to BTCL 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 contract requires BTCL to extend the life of as many as 85 CH-146 Griffon helicopters, until at least the mid-2030s.

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BTCL is the original manufacturer of the Griffon fleet and owns all the intellectual property rights for the aircraft.

As a result, BTCL is the only authorised company to assess and define required design changes and other related repairs to the aircraft.

The company will first perform modifications on nine CH-146 helicopters, following which it will manage a competitive process to sub-contract the suppliers for installing changes on the remaining 76 helicopters.

BTCL has formed Team Griffon to provide ‘Made in Canada’ solutions for the CH-146 project.

Team Griffon includes CMC Electronics and Pratt & Whitney Canada.

Delivery of the first upgraded helicopter is expected in 2024 while modernisation of the remaining fleet will be complete by 2028.

A military variant of the Bell 412EP helicopter, the CH‑146 can undertake multiple missions, including emergency response, tactical transport, and search and rescue.