US Air Force, December 22, 2008 - KABUL, Afghanistan by ISAF - Six Canadian Griffon helicopters landed at the Kandahar Air Field via C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, Dec. 20. The Griffons are the first Canadian helicopters to arrive at the Canadian Air Wing in Afghanistan.
The Griffons will provide escort protection for Canada's newly acquired Chinook helicopter, which will allow International Security Assistance Force to reduce ground-based resupply convoys and reach remote locations in challenging environments more easily, lowering the risk of ambushes, land mines and improvised explosive devices.
"These Griffon helicopters will give the commander the ability to move troops rapidly and with more flexibility," said Col. Christopher Coates, commander of the Canadian Air Wing in Kandahar. "In addition to moving troops, they may also be used for aerial helicopter escort, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions."
The Griffon has proven itself effective in many national and international humanitarian relief operations, including Manitoba's Red River flood in 1997; Eastern Canada's ice storm in 1998; and the United Nations effort to stabilize Haiti in 2004.
The Canadian Air Wing is composed of CH-147 D Chinook medium - to heavy - lift helicopters, C-130 Hercules aircraft, Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and CH-146 Griffon helicopters.