Tue, Nov 21, 2006
Will Increase Presence In Afghanistan
A move by Canada's
National Defense to "jump the line" and take delivery of new
helicopters and transport aircraft before the US military may be
just the ticket to bolster Canada's presence in Afghanistan.
"It's being given serious consideration," a Canadian Defense
Department source told The Canadian Press.
Canada wants its new Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transports and
CH-47 Chinook helicopters as quickly as possible, to support its
troops fighting against Taliban forces in Afghanistan. For years,
the Canadian army has been unable to mobilize its forces due to a
lack of such aircraft.
A spokesman for the Canadian Air Force would not confirm or deny
the request to move its orders ahead of those from the US
military... but the Defense Department has already sent pilots to
the US to begin flight training on the C-17. A similar arrangement
for Chinook crews is still being negotiated.
"What I can tell you is that we're currently in contract
negotiations, trying to get as aggressive a delivery schedule as we
can for the aircraft," said Captain Jim Hutcheson.
As it stands now, Canada will receive its first C-17s by late
2008, with Chinooks arriving in 2012. If Canada is allowed to 'jump
the line,' it would receive its first few Globemasters by June of
It's unclear how much sooner Canada would receive its CH-47
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