Warplanes: Canada Improvises Gunships


December 2, 2008: Canada is sending several of its CH-146 transport helicopters to Afghanistan, to serve as armed escorts for the new CH-47 transports. Both models will be in action next year. The CH-146 is actually the Bell 412, which is in turn an updated version of the Bell 212, which is a civilian version of the 1960s era U.S. Army UH-1 ("Huey"). Built in Canada, the 5.3 ton CH-146s normally carry twelve troops, and no weapons. But such helicopters have been equipped with machine-guns and rockets. The CH-146s will be equipped with machine-guns (caliber and model unspecified) as well as sensors that will make it easier to operate at night and in bad weather. The CH-146 and the CH-47 have similar flight characteristics (both cruise at 220 kilometers an hour, and can stay in the air up to three hours per sortie.)


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