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On Monday, April 17, approximately 60 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF’s) 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (THS), based at 3rd Canadian Division Support Base (3 CDSB) in Edmonton, Alta., departed for northern Iraq where they will assume the duties of the Tactical Aviation Detachment of Air Task Force-Iraq as part of Operation Impact, the Canadian Armed Forces’ commitment to the fight against Daesh.
“The Royal Canadian Air Force is proud to be part of the Canadian Armed Forces’ contribution to the ongoing fight against Daesh,” said MGen Christian Drouin, Commander 1 Canadian Air Division. “We provide air power that integrates with and supports our CAF and coalition partners. The tactical helicopter detachment is a crucial component of this commitment; 430 Squadron has done a tremendous job over the past few months, maintaining a level of excellence that I know 408 Squadron will continue.”
Members of 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron will relieve 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron from Valcartier, Que., which has been providing tactical aviation support in northern Iraq since early October 2016. Personnel of 408 Squadron will fly and maintain up to four CH-146 Griffon helicopters, co-located with the Canadian-led Coalition Role 2 medical facility, at Camp Érable, Iraq.
Up to four CH-146 Griffon helicopters provide in-theatre tactical transport for Canadian troops and materiel near Erbil, Iraq. The aircraft carry an array of self-defence systems for force protection.
“The men and women of 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron will continue to provide agile, reliable and dedicated service that Canada’s Special Operations Forces and our coalition allies have come to expect from the RCAF,” said Col Jeannot Boucher, Commander 1 Wing. “As they deploy to support the fight against Daesh, I am confident that they will live up to their squadron motto: For Freedom.”
“As part of the fight against Daesh, 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron has deployed a contingent of men and women to provide in-theatre tactical transport in northern Iraq. I am proud of the commitment, readiness and professionalism of our airmen and women, and am certain that they will provide the same level of excellence in the conduct of their mission as this squadron has done throughout its rich and operationally focused history,” said LCol Trevor Teller, Commanding Officer 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron.
- Members of 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, based at 3rd Canadian Division Support Base, Edmonton, Alta., are deploying to replace members of 430e Escadron tactique d’hélicoptères as the Tactical Aviation Detachment of Air Task Force-Iraq;
- CH-146 Griffon helicopters and personnel first deployed to Op Impact in May 2016. Currently there are four CH-146 Griffon helicopters in theatre;
- The Tactical Aviation Detachment of Air Task Force-Iraq, along with the Canadian-led Coalition Role 2 medical facility are based at Camp Érable, Iraq;
- As part of Joint Task Force-Iraq, Air Task Force-Iraq contributes to coalition air operations against Daesh to improve security in Iraq and in the region. Other air assets deployed currently with Air Task Force-Iraq are one CC-150(T) Polaris air-to-air refuelling aircraft, and up to two CP-140 Aurora intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, both of which are based in Kuwait; and
- Canada remains a committed partner to the global Coalition against Daesh. Op Impact currently comprises approximately 830 military personnel based in both Iraq and Kuwait.