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Bell CH-146 Griffon

Multirole Utility Helicopter

Canada | 1995

"The Bell CH-146 Griffon utility platform continues its multirole efficiency with the Canadian Armed Forces."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/06/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Flag of Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.
When Canadian Armed Forces adopted a new "do-everything" utility-minded helicopter platform in 1995, it selected the Bell 412 - a further evolution of the hugely successful Vietnam War-era "Huey" air cavalry helicopter. The Bell 412 was, itself, a further evolution of the earlier Bell 212 model though now showcasing a four-bladed, composite main rotor instead of the original two-blade system for increased performance. The Bell 412 saw its first flight in August of 1979 and Canada began local production of the product in 1989 and also saw local manufacture of Pratt & Whitney turboshaft engines. Adopted as the CH-146 "Griffon", this local Canadian variant saw its own first flight during 1992 to which then production followed for 100 units delivered into 1997 - the CH-146 is based on the Bell Model 412EP ("Enhanced Performance") offering and the Griffon's model number is CH-146CF ("Canadian Forces").

The CH-146 replaced the aging line of CH-118 helicopters then in service - these based on the original Bell UH-1 "Hueys".

The helicopter serves Canadian forces through its air force, combat support, training, and Search and Rescue (SAR) services. Some six training squadrons have made use of the type. SAR versions are painted in a bright yellow finish while military variants showcase a dark camouflage pattern. The overall design and configuration of the CH-146 is consistent with the Bell Model 412 in all ways. It features a two-seat cockpit (side-by-side seating) with excellent views out of the forward, side, and floor window panes. Access is through hinged, automobile-style doors along the fuselage sides. The passenger cabin is amidships and accessed through large, two-windowed sliding doors. Above the cabin is the twin-engine installation driving the four-blade main rotor. A drive shaft is shrouded in the tail stem leading to the two-bladed tail rotor sat to the starboard side of the vertical tail fin. The undercarriage is a low-cost, easy-to-maintain landing skid system. A typical operating crew is three to include the two pilots and an onboard flight engineer. Passenger spacing is for ten infantry/paratroopers or up to six medical litters in the MEDEVAC role. In the cockpit, avionics includes the CMC Electronics CMA-2082A Flight Management System (FMS), night vision support, and a WESCAM 16TD-A fully-stabilized Thermal Imaging System (TIS).

The CH-146 is outfitted with 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T-34 turboshaft engines, each rated at 900 shaft horsepower. Maximum listed speed is 160 miles per hour with a cruising speed of 135 miles per hour and range out to 405 miles.

The platform can be armed for support roles by way of 7.62mm machine guns (C6 series GPMG)or miniguns (Dillon Aero M134D) fitted on pintle mountings at each cabin door. The 12.7mm GAU-21 heavy machine gun system is also supported. Additional armor can be installed for improved crew and passenger protection in active-fire warzones.

To date, CH-146s have taken part in local security and disaster relief efforts across Canada. They have also served overseas in Haiti, Bosnia/Kosovo, and - most recently - Afghanistan. The vehicles are made somewhat air-transportable in the hold of a C-130 Hercules or C-17 Globemaster III (in Canadian service as the CC-130 and CC-177 respectively) transport aircraft through removal of some outlying structural components to promote a smaller, more compact profile.

A modernization program was enacted to keep CH-146s viable in Canadian service until the early 2020s.

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February 2019 - Instead of seeking a costly successor, The Canadian government has decided to extend the service lives of its existing CH-146 Griffon fleet consisting of eighty-five helicopters - keeping them operating in a frontline capacity into 2031. The modernization will be handled locally by Bell Helicopter Textron Canada and include all new cockpit displays, avionics, and updated sensors. Pratt & Whitney Canada will be supplying new PT6T 9 "TwinPac" turboshaft engines for the lot. Following a design phase, work on the fleet will begin in 2022.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Bell CH-146 Griffon Multirole Utility Helicopter.
2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T-3D turboshaft engines developing 900 horsepower each driving a four-bladed main rotor and two-bladed tail rotor.
162 mph
260 kph | 140 kts
Max Speed
20,013 ft
6,100 m | 4 miles
Service Ceiling
407 miles
655 km | 354 nm
Operational Range
1,355 ft/min
413 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Bell CH-146 Griffon Multirole Utility Helicopter.
56.1 ft
17.10 m
O/A Length
45.9 ft
(14.00 m)
O/A Width
15.1 ft
(4.60 m)
O/A Height
6,790 lb
(3,080 kg)
Empty Weight
11,806 lb
(5,355 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Bell CH-146 Griffon Multirole Utility Helicopter .
Variable (only also if equipped):

2 x 7.62mm C6 machine guns OR 7.62mm Dillon Aero M134D miniguns at side fuselage doors.
Notable series variants as part of the Bell CH-146 Griffon family line.
CH-146 "Griffon" - Base Series Designation
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Bell CH-146 Griffon. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 100 Units

Contractor(s): Bell Helicopter - USA / Canada
National flag of Canada National flag of the United Kingdom

[ Canada; United Kingdom ]
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Image of the Bell CH-146 Griffon
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.
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Image of the Bell CH-146 Griffon
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Image of the Bell CH-146 Griffon
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.

Going Further...
The Bell CH-146 Griffon Multirole Utility Helicopter appears in the following collections:
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