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Bell Textron Canada flies first upgraded CH-146C Griffon

Two pre-modification Bell CH-146s. The full RCAF fleet of 85 Griffons is to be upgraded to C standard. (Bell Helicopter Textron)

Bell Textron Canada has flown the first upgraded CH-146C Griffon, according to a 20 June announcement. The flight took place at the Bell Textron Canada facility in Mirabel, Quebec.

β€œThe Bell 412 remains a venerable aircraft of choice for militaries across the world, with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) operating the largest and best-equipped militarised fleet of 412s,” said Danny Maldonado, the company's chief commercial officer.

The CH-146 is a militarised version of the Bell 412EP, a helicopter common in both armed and civilian service. The β€˜C' variant designates helicopters upgraded under the Griffon Limited Life Extension (GLLE) programme, intended to extend their service lives through 2030.

The GLLE modifications entail replacing the helicopter's Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T-3D turbine engines with new Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T-9s, and adding new cockpit displays and avionics, sensors, communications equipment, cockpit voice and flight recorders, and automatic flight control systems. The programme began in 2021 with an agreement to modify three CH-146s to the new standard, followed in May 2022 by a CAD800 million (USD584 million) contract to upgrade the remainder of the RCAF fleet.

The first CH-146C is scheduled for delivery to the RCAF in 2026.

The RCAF took delivery of the first CH-146s in 1994, according to Janes: World Air Forces database. Today the service operates 85 of the helicopters as its primary rotary-wing utility and transportation fleet.

For more information, please seeCanada to extend Griffon helicopters .

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