Bell has performed the first flight of a CH-146 Griffon utility helicopter it has upgraded under a modernisation programme for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The sortie was performed from the airframer’s facility in Mirabel, Quebec, where Bell is conducting the upgrade activity through the Griffon Limited Life Extension (GLLE) project.

Griffon-c-Department of National Defence

Source: Canadian Department of National Defence

Griffon helicopters will gain modernised avionics and engines under GLLE project

That sees the helicopters, a derivative of the model 412EP, gain updated avionics, cockpit displays, engines and sensors to enable their continued operation into the 2030s.

Delivery of the first upgraded CH-146 Griffon completed under the GLLE effort is expected in 2026 pending military certification.

Bell is to upgrade the first nine of 85 CH-146s itself, with work on the remainder to be performed by Canadian subcontractors Alpine Aerotech and Heli-One.