In August 2008, the Government of Canada announced the purchase of six Chinook D-model helicopters from the U.S. Army under a Foreign Military Sales Agreement with the Government of the United States. These Chinooks were bought to meet the immediate need for medium-to-heavy-lift helicopters as directed by the March 2008 Parliamentary motion to extend the Afghan mission to 2011. The transfer of the helicopters, which were already located in Afghanistan, was completed on December 30, 2008. On January 8, 2009, a CH-147D Chinook made its debut flight as a Canadian aircraft at Kandahar Airfield, where they are based.
With the arrival of the CH-147D Chinook, Joint Task Force Afghanistan has gained greater access to one of the world’s most powerful workhorse helicopters for moving troops and supplies in theatre. Already proven in Afghanistan with other nations, and with its ability to carry large quantities of cargo and soldiers, the Chinook will be a major asset to Canada and her allies in Afghanistan. With the addition of helicopter airlift, there will be a corresponding reduction in the need for troops to travel by road, thereby lowering their risk of ambushes, land mines and improvised explosive devices.
Separate from the acquisition of the six D-model Chinooks for employment in Afghanistan, Canada has announced its intention to acquire a long-term fleet of 15 new medium-to-heavy-lift helicopters based on the F-Model Chinook. These Chinooks are expected to meet the CF’s rotary-wing transport requirements for the next 20 years.