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CH-146 Griffon helicopters

Canada sending Griffon, Chinook helicopters to Latvia

By Vertical Mag | December 15, 2023

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 55 seconds.

CH-146 Griffon helicopters
The CH-146 Griffon is based on the Bell 412EP. Mike Reyno Photo

Canada will send four CH-146 Griffon helicopters to Latvia and will periodically deploy CH-147F Chinooks there starting in the fall of 2025, as part of an expanded NATO mission.

This marks the first time Canada has persistently deployed tactical aviation capabilities to Europe since the conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo in the late 1990s and early 2000s, according to the country’s defense ministry.

“Through our deployment in Latvia — the largest current Canadian military deployment abroad — Canada is making a meaningful contribution to Euro-Atlantic security,” said Canadian defense minister Bill Blair in a statement.

A CH-147F Chinook like the one pictured crashed into the Ottawa River near Garrison Petawawa on June 20, killing both pilots on board. Mike Reyno Photo
CH-147F Chinook helicopters will be periodically deployed to Latvia as part of Canada’s operations there. Mike Reyno Photo

The Griffon helicopters will be assigned to the Canadian-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battle Group, as part of Operation REASSURANCE. They are part of a renewed effort that will more than double Canada’s presence in the operation, from about 1,000 troops to 2,200 persistently deployed troops by 2026.

“The additional measures that I announced today will significantly increase the capabilities of the Canadian-led, multinational battle group in Latvia, further boosting NATO’s defense and deterrence posture,” said Blair.

The NATO eFP Battle group is composed of Canada and nine other countries: Albania, Czechia, Italy, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.

Canada is also sending 15 Leopard 2A4M tanks to Latvia, and procuring portable anti-armor missile systems, as well as medium-range radar capabilities, along with C$15 million in new infrastructure needed to scale up the existing battle brigade.

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