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Who Was Flying These Mysterious Blue Choppers in Iraq?

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Myth
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For five months in 2016, anyone who looked up in northern Iraq might have caught a glimpse of three odd, dark blue helicopters flying around. From a distance, these choppers would have looked a lot like civilian aircraft, but they were actually part of a unique Royal Canadian Air Force squadron.

Canada’s military is especially tight-lipped about its elite units and the 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron is no exception. The deployment to Iraq between May and October 2016 offered an uncommon glimpse of the unit in action.

“A detachment of three helicopters from 427 Special Operations Aviation … provide essential tactical helicopter transportation,” reads the caption from what appears to be the only official photo from Iraq to mention the squadron by name.

Between May and October 2016, members of the 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron shuttled around Canadian commandos working with the Kurdish Peshmerga. The paint job helped the CH-146 Griffons and their passengers keep a low profile in Iraq and elsewhere.

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