August 22, 2011 Tony Osborne, SHEPARD GROUP
London - The Canada Joint Task Afghanistan Air Wing officially ended its operations from Kandahar airfield on 19 August.
The disbandment of the air wing, which includes personnel and aircraft from the Canadian helicopter community, comes on the heels of the end of the Canadian Force's combat mission in the country in July.
The air wing, called Task Force Silver Dart, is made of up three components: TF Erebus flying the Heron UAVs; TF Canuck flying the CC-130 Hercules transport aircraft; and TF Freedom, the Canadian Helicopter Force Afghanistan (CHFA), flying the CH-146 Griffon and the CH-147 Chinooks purchased under the Interim Medium-Lift Capability (IMLC).
'This is a significant day, as we close down the Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing after 32 months of first-class support to combat operations,’ said air wing commander, Col Al Meinzinger.
'Everyone who served with the Air Wing displayed great flexibility and agility in working with our many mission partners. Over the last five months, all three units of the Air Wing surged to unprecedented levels to support operations.
The JTF-Afg Air Wing stood up at Kandahar Airfield on December 6, 2008 with 200 personnel and quickly grew to its final operating strength of 450 personnel. The CC-130 Hercules deployed in Kandahar Province will continue to fly in support of the MTTF until the end of 2011.
Over the three years of operations, the JTF-Afg Air Wing achieved the following milestones:
CH-146 Griffon: 2,294 passengers | 16,343 hours flown | 20,615 lb cargo
CH-147 Chinook: 89,314 passengers | 7,085 hours flown | 7,090,889 lb cargo
CH-146 and CH-147 (combined): 91,608 passengers | 23,428 hours flown | 7,111,504 lb cargo
Mi-8 chartered cargo helicopter: 11,000 hours flown | 16,000,000 lb cargo
You can read more about the operations of the Canadian Helicopter Force Afghanistan (CHFA) by reading the latest edition of Defence Helicopter magazine, by clicking HERE