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10:43 AM, April 24, 2018
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Canada to Supply 2 Chinook, 4 Griffon Helicopters to UN Mission in Mali
Canadian CH-147F Chinook helicopter (Image:Royal Canadian Air Force)

Canada will supply two CH-147 Chinook transport helicopters for logistical support and medical evacuations and four armed CH-146 Griffon helicopters to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission Mali (MINUSMA).

The UN, meanwhile, is expecting that two Chinooks will be available at any given time — which means Canada would need to send more than two to Mali, CBC News reported Tuesday.

''A helicopter is not like a car. They have planned maintenance,'' an unnamed UN official familiar with the talks was quoted as saying by the news channel. ''Therefore, in order to have two available on a daily basis you would need three."

The UN will meet with a delegation from Canada on Wednesday to discuss the mission's operational requirements, including the availability of two transport helicopters on a daily basis, the official told CBC News.

Germany, which Canada will be replacing in Mali, deployed four NH90 transport helicopters to make sure it had two operational on a daily basis. But that may have had more to do with the fact the NH90 is so new and had never been deployed into the desert, the official said. 

The four Griffon helicopters Canada is sending to Mali are armed, but they are not full-scale attack helicopters and won't be providing critical fire support from the air to secure convoys and troops on the ground.

Germany currently has four Tiger utility helicopters in Mali to provide protection for troops on the ground. The Netherlands had four Apache attack helicopters and three Chinooks when it was in theatre from 2014 to 2017.

Canada's military, however, doesn't have attack helicopters. The role of the Griffons will be to escort and defend the Chinooks, not protect ground troops.

According to the Canadian military's standard operating procedures, whenever a Chinook is dispatched in a hostile environment, it must be escorted by two armed Griffons for protection.

 

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