Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

August 10, 2011 12:43 ET

Minister MacKay Announces the Deployment of Griffon Helicopters to Support the Jamaica Defence Force

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 10, 2011) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today announced that in response to a request from the Government of Jamaica, Canada is deploying three CH-146 Griffon tactical helicopters and 65 Canadian Forces personnel to support the Jamaica Defence Force during the 2011 hurricane season.

"Our government is committed to ensuring that our Canadian Forces are ready to assist our allies on the world stage, if and when the call comes," said Minister MacKay. "I could not be more pleased that our men and women in uniform will be working alongside members of the Jamaica Defence Force during that country's coming hurricane season. Once again, Canadians have a reason to be proud of the incredible work our men and women in uniform are achieving on behalf of our great nation."

The request from Jamaica addresses a specific capability gap in the Jamaica Defence Force, which currently does not have helicopters suitable for taskings such as search and rescue and medical evacuation flights. While in support of the Jamaican Defence Force, Canadian Air Force personnel will also take this opportunity to conduct Search and Rescue (SAR) training activities in order to meet essential Canadian Forces SAR training requirements in support of domestic SAR capabilities.

"This deployment, the first under a new Canadian Forces initiative dubbed Operation JAGUAR, will once again demonstrate that the men and women of the CF have world-class military skills and discipline, and a global reputation that is second to none," said Lieutenant-General Marc Lessard, Commander of Canadian Expeditionary Force Command. "Our Forces are proud to serve Canadians by projecting the best of what this country has to offer around the world."

Task Force Jamaica — the team deployed on Operation JAGUAR — is an aviation detachment comprised of 65 CF personnel and three CH-146 Griffon helicopters. Their mission is to undertake specific critical life-saving tasks both inland and over water in support of the Jamaica Defence Force. An aspect of Canada's continuing commitment to international peace and security, Operation JAGUAR shows how relevant, responsive and effective Canada's helicopter fleet is in today's complex environment.

The Canadian Forces has worked closely with Jamaica for many years, on several projects through Canada's Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP). For example, Canada assisted in the construction and development of the Jamaican Military Aviation School, which opened in 2006. The school provides aircraft training to pilots throughout the Caribbean.

Other MTCP initiatives with Jamaica include the Counter-Terrorism Operations Training and the Naval Boarding Party Training for Caribbean nations, both funded by the Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Canadian Forces were also instrumental in the construction of the Caribbean Junior Command and Staff College at the Moneague Training Camp, St Ann.

Jamaica has also hosted the Canadian Forces for pre-deployment training for engineers, such as 2008's Exercise Tropical Hammer, and for Operation HESTIA, where Jamaica acted as a staging area for the Government of Canada's emergency response to Haiti following the earthquake last year.

The longstanding, successful collaboration between the Canadian Forces and the Jamaica Defence Force is a testament to how military-to-military cooperation provides opportunities to collaborate, exchange ideas, learn from best practices, and leverage shared interests.

Note to editors: For more information and imagery about Operation JAGUAR, visit the website of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command at: http://www.cefcom.forces.gc.ca/pa-ap/ops/jaguar/index-eng.asp

For more information about the Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP): http://www.forces.gc.ca/admpol/mtcp-eng.html

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