Medium-to-Heavy Lift Helicopter Project: Status
(Source: National Defence and the Canadian Forces; issued July 18, 2013)
As part of the Government’s commitment to strengthening the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Department of National Defence (DND) is acquiring 15 advanced, multi-mission, medium to heavy-lift helicopters, or more specifically the Canadian version of the F-model Chinook (also known as CH-147F). This will continue to position the CAF as a first-class, modern, flexible force capable of defending Canada and Canadian interests well into the future.

The purchase of this fleet of 15 aircraft meets our military’s requirements and enables the CAF to project itself effectively across Canada and abroad. The Canadian CH-147F Chinook represents a new capability for the CAF that will enhance its ability to operate in remote and isolated areas, and increase its capacity to respond to a wide variety of humanitarian emergencies across the continent, such as fires, floods, and earthquakes.

As part of the Medium-to-Heavy Lift Helicopter Acquisition Program, Boeing has committed to providing Industrial and Regional Benefits equal to US$1.25 billion, which will ensure significant benefits for Canadian industry from this procurement. Boeing is currently on track to meet its commitments.

This procurement project remains both on time and within budget since the contract was signed with Boeing in 2009.

Projected Costing

The total estimated cost for acquisition and in-service support for the Medium-to-Heavy Lift Helicopter Program is CAN$5 billion. The breakdown is as follows:

The total project acquisition cost is estimated at CAN$2.3 billion, which includes the 15 helicopters, in-service support set-up, equipment procured directly from the U.S. government (Foreign Military Sales cases)*, new infrastructure in Petawawa, project management costs, and a complete maintenance and aircrew training program, including simulation devices and courseware.

The 20-year in-service support program for the helicopters, which includes the training systems and equipment procured directly from the U.S. government (Foreign Military Sales cases)*, has an estimated value of CAN$2.7 billion.

The estimated costs associated with 20 years of personnel, operations, and maintenance (excluding GST) are approximately CAN$1.7 billion.

Acquisition and Support Costs Acquisition costs: $2.3B
In-Service Support (20 yrs): $2.7B
TOTAL: $5.0B


* The Foreign Military Sales program is the U.S. method for selling U.S. defence equipment, services, and training that is not available for individual companies to purchase, even if they are American. Equipment that falls under this program are typically sensitive, such as specialised weapons, high performance engines and classified communications systems. In programs like the Medium-to-Heavy Lift Helicopter, Canada procures certain equipment through Foreign Military Sales, and then provides it to the company for assembly and integration into the aircraft.

Chronology of Events

June 2006: The Government of Canada announced its plan to acquire a new fleet of medium-to-heavy lift Chinook F-model helicopters to meet the CAF rotary-wing transport requirements for the next 20 years. To ensure a fair, open, and transparent process, an Advance Contract Award Notice was published on Government Electronic Tenders Service (MERX) to give notice to supplier community of the intent to award a contract to the Boeing Company. Boeing was assessed as being the only compliant supplier.

December 2008: Separate from the Medium-to-Heavy Lift Helicopter Program, Canada acquired six used Chinook D-model helicopters (CH-147D) in order to meet an urgent need for a medium-lift capability in Afghanistan. These helicopters were procured directly from the U.S. government (Foreign Military Sales cases)*. This capability lasted until the end of the mission in 2011.

Two of the original six Chinook D-model helicopters were damaged beyond economical repair while in operation in Afghanistan. DND is pursuing disposal options including the sale of the remaining four helicopters of the Chinook D fleet.

August 2009: The Government of Canada announced a contract to the Boeing Company valued at approximately US$1.2 billion to build the helicopters and provide initial in-service support set-up.

December 2009: The Government of Canada announced Canada’s new fleet of 15 Chinook F-model helicopters will be based at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, Ontario. The new helicopter squadron will be designated 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron.

March 2010: The Government of Canada announced that Montréal-based CAE would be the single operational training systems provider for the Chinook F-model helicopter fleet. CAE was awarded a contract valued at approximately CAN$250 million to establish and maintain a comprehensive aircrew training solution.

October 2010: The Government of Canada awarded Ellis Don Company a contract valued at CAN$134.8 million to construct first and second line maintenance bays, CAE and Boeing training schools, a back shop and warehouse, a DND command suite, and a fenced-in parking lot.

June 24, 2012: Canada’s first Chinook F-model helicopter successfully completed its maiden test flight at a Boeing test facility, kicking off the year-long Test and Evaluation phase of the program which is comprised of both ground and flight-test activities.

September 24, 2012: A second Canadian Chinook F-model helicopter began the Test and Evaluation phase of the program and completed its first test flight.

February 5, 2013: Boeing-led training began for aircraft technicians, loadmasters and flight engineers at a training site near Philadelphia. Approximately 45 graduates were available to support the first Chinook helicopter that arrived in the summer of 2013.

March 24, 2013: The Government of Canada announced the awarding of a CAN$5.7 million subcontract by Boeing to Weatherhaven, of Burnaby, British Columbia, to fit made-in-Canada portable repair and maintenance shelters for the CH-147 helicopters. These portable shelters can be trucked and/or airlifted to locations to meet the Canadian Armed Forces’ various needs in the field, both domestically and internationally.

June 21, 2013: The Government of Canada finalized a contract amendment with the Boeing Company to provide the first five years of 20 years of in-service support for the helicopters.

June 24, 2013: The Government of Canada accepted the Canadian Armed Forces’ first new CH-147F Chinook helicopter at a ceremony at Boeing’s facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

June 27, 2013: The Government of Canada welcomed the delivery of the Canadian Armed Forces’ first new CH-147F Chinook helicopter in Canada at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Next Steps

Aircraft will be delivered at a rate of approximately one aircraft per month with all aircraft being delivered over the next year. The operational readiness of this fleet will be developed in a progressive manner that is in step with testing and training on the Chinook. This will ensure that the impressive capabilities of this aircraft can be fully and safely exploited when responding to future emergencies or military operations.

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