April 18 (UPI) -- Canada's air force on Monday deployed four CH-146 Griffon helicopters to support coalition efforts against militants in northern Iraq.
According to a statement released by the country's defense ministry, the deployment aims to support the U.S.-led coalition fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.
The deployment includes 60 Canadian air force personnel. The CH-146 Griffon helicopters will be used to provide tactical support for Canadian ground forces.
"The Royal Canadian Air Force is proud to be part of the Canadian Armed Forces' contribution to the ongoing fight against Daesh," Maj. Gen. Christian Drouin said in a press release. "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."
The Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopter is a multirole rotorcraft procured by Canadian forces to replace aging CH-118 fleets based on UH-1 Hueys.
The aircraft is used to provide combat support, training and search-and-rescue operations. It is equipped with two Pratt & Whitney PT6T-34 turboshaft engines, allowing the helicopter to reach a maximum speed of 160 miles per hour and a cruising speed of 135 miles per hour.
A modernization plan has been implemented to keep the CH-146s in service until the early 2020s.