Well I can report that the Canadian have had no problems with their 412s in the mountains of Afghanistan .
Canadian soldiers need helicopters
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A Canadian soldier walks by a convoy of armoured vehicles which arrived at a base in El Bak Valley, some 200 kilometres north of Kandahar Sunday.
Photograph by : Associated Press
Font: * * * * Matthew Fisher, CanWest News Service
Published: Monday, June 12, 2006
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Canadian commanders have generally been delighted with the quality of gear they've been given to conduct Canada's first major combat undertaking in more than half a century.
But halfway through the first rotation of combat troops to southern Afghanistan, the army is grappling with the reality that lives are sometimes put at risk when convoys set out to resupply troops fighting the Taliban because Canada has no helicopters capable of carrying out such sustainment missions.
"It is quite possible it has cost limbs, if not more, because we have had to sustain on the ground," said Lt.-Col. Ian Hope, who commands the Canadian battle group. "That has produced a risk that would be reduced if we could take helicopter flights.
"It does not take a military tactician to know this. We have mitigated the risks. Losses have been reduced. But you can't get to zero."
Lt.-Col. John Conrad, Canada's senior logistician in Kandahar, is responsible for the resupply convoys, which set out from the Kandahar Airfield for remote forward-operating bases. They're located along roads and dirt tracks where the Taliban often sends suicide bombers, or places mines and other explosives because American, British and Dutch Chinook transport helicopters are seldom available for such missions.
"The convoys are now in harm's way almost daily because ... supplies have to follow the infantry and we have had to send those supplies by land," Conrad said.
"We bid on air, but it is like coming to a potluck. Everyone brings a dish and instead of potato salad we come with a jug of water. They (the coalition) help us when they can, but we are at the end of the list."
However, both colonels stressed that when Canadian troops require close air support for combat operations or have wounded who need to be taken to hospital, coalition fighter jets, bombers, assault and medevac helicopters are always on call to help them.
"We can rely on our allies to come to our aid if we are in trouble," Hope said. "There is no question. They come as soon as possible."
The Harper government has been urgently reviewing the helicopter question. The lack of robust helicopters suitable for use in combat environments has dogged the military for many years. The Chretien government paid a $500-million penalty for cancelling the EH-101 helicopter contract in the early 1990s.
Canada purchased about 85 Griffon helicopters in the mid-1990s. They have not been deployed to Afghanistan because they can't operate in combat situations. The decision to order the Griffon kept an assembly line busy in Quebec.
While lacking helicopters, the LAV II armoured vehicle used by the Canadians is probably the most effective ground-fighting platform in the area.
The Canadians have also made good use of their new M777 howitzer and a fleet of new heavily armoured Nayala vehicles that can trigger IEDs and mines before they can destroy other Canadian vehicles