By David Pugliese
Canada’s new Chinooks will be outfitted with a new state-of-art laser-based counter-missile defense system, military officers have told Defence Watch.
The first of the 15 Chinook F models ordered by Canada are scheduled to arrive in the summer of 2013.
They will have undergone some modifications that the military deemed to be worthwhile for Canadian scenarios. Those include the installation of larger fuel tanks for increased range and an upgraded electrical system that is designed to handle improved avioncis as well as a laser-based counter-missile defence system.
The Canadian Chinooks are different from those being operated by the U.S. Army because of the increased fuel capacity, defensive suite and improved electrical system, said Canadian Air Force Lt. Col. Rick McLaughlin, operational requirements manager for the medium-heavy lift helicopter project.
The Canadian Chinooks will be outfitted with an enhanced survivability package using a directed infra-red countermeasures system, he noted. The turreted system constantly watches for missile launches and “defeats the eyeball on the heat-seeker (of a missile) using a laser shot,” McLaughlin said.
Also on board will be more traditional countermeasures against missiles such as flares. The upgraded electrical system that is being installed on the Canadian Chinooks is designed to handle the extra power needs to run the laser-based countermeasures system.
McLaughlin also said Canada will have large-size fuel tanks installed in the Chinooks for increased range, to deal with the country’s large geographic size as well as a result from lessons learned from Afghanistan. He noted that many operations being flown in-theater with Chinooks involved the use of fuel bladders, outfitted in the rear cabin area, to provide added range.
McLaughlin said Canada had safety issues about using such fuel bladders as well as concerns that putting the extra fuel containers in the rear of the aircraft would cut down on the number of troops that could be carried.
“For each one that goes in there you loose upwards of a dozen seats in the back,” he explained. “The whole issue of carrying gas in the back and losing cargo capability came into the discussion.”
All aircraft are expected to be delivered by June 2014.