Canada Awards Maintenance Contract for Bell 412EP Helis
During a January 2011 visit to Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Ltd’s assembly line in Mirabel, QB, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a 10-year, C$ 640 million (about $646 million, get used to this) contract to maintain Canada’s fleet of about 90 CH-146 Griffons (Bell 412EP) utility helicopters, until their expected withdrawal from service in 2021. It also includes the option to extend the contract for up to 4 more 1-year periods, stretching it to 2025 if necessary.
The CH-146s perform basic utility roles, though their most recent mission involved upgrades to serve as a light armed reconnaissance helicopter in Afghanistan. The new “Optimized Weapon Support System (OWSS)” contract framework replaces 3 existing contracts, and covers repair and overhaul, parts provisioning, support services and engineering services. As is typical in Canada, the contract requires an equal value in Industrial and Regional Benefits (IRB) within Canada. Since Bell builds 412EPs in Mirabel, CH-146 engines are Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6T-3Ds, and maintenance will be performed in Canada, this is not a difficult requirement.
The base contract is expected to maintain 300 jobs in Calgary, AB and Mirabel, QB. Additional subcontracts will be awarded to provide support to select military bases, such as Valcartier, QB; Petawawa, ON and Trenton, ON; Gagetown, NB, and for various locations in Canada’s Western provinces. Canada PMO release (incl. audio link) | backgrounder.