The Royal Canadian Air Force is moving forward with its planned deployment of ten helicopters to support the United Nations Air Task Force (ATF) currently deployed in Mali.
A pre-deployment team of about 100 personnel in Mali is set to receive three CH-147F Chinook heavy lift transport helicopter from the RCAF 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (THS) and up to seven CH-146 Griffon tactical transport helicopter from the 508 THS which were pledged to the UN mission.
Owning to the distance involved from Petawawa, Ontario where the helicopters is previously based to west Africa, much planning and coordination took place to successfully complete the task.
At first, the helicopters flew to 8th Wing in Trenton, Ontario under their own power, then the helicopters were loaded onto a CC-177 Globemaster III heavy transport aircraft belonging to the 429 Transport Squadron.
With a 60-foot rotor diameter and a height of 18 feet, the Chinook required a partial disassembly which was executed by technicians and support personnel from 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (THS). The rotor blades, the front and rear rotor mast was removed so the Chinook could fit into the Globemaster III.
After the partial disassembly was completed, the staffs of Trenton’s 2nd Air Movement Squadron (AMS) took over. The 2nd AMS role involves processing all cargo that transits through Trenton. They were also tasked with the final loading and to secure everything in the Globemaster III.
A small self-propelled crane to assist in re-mount the front and rear mast/gear was also loaded.
The CC-177 Globemaster III left for Mali on the evening of Tuesday 3rd of July. Once it arrives in Mali, ground tests would be conducted and the Chinook would be test flown to prepare for the UN operation that would commence later July.