450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron

During the Second World War, the squadron number 450 was allocated to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Although Canadian squadrons were numbered from 400 to 449, an unusual twist of history resulted in the number 450 being allocated to a Canadian heavy transport squadron. Nevertheless, Canada received permission to adopt the number and 450 Heavy Transport Helicopter Squadron was formed at RCAF Station St. Hubert, Que., on March 29, 1968. The Canadian designation stood and 450 Squadron members bonded with those of 450 Royal Australian Air Force Squadron Association. Many who served in either squadron still keep in touch today.

The squadron moved to Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Ottawa (Uplands) in May 1970 and the squadron received Royal Assent for the designation 450 Transport Helicopter Squadron on May 20, 1970.

On Aug. 1, 1991, the squadron became 450 Composite Helicopter Squadron and then 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron on April 1, 1993. The squadron moved back to 1 Wing in St. Hubert in August 1994.

The Chinook was withdrawn from service in the autumn of 1991. 450 Squadron continued to operate CH-135 Twin Huey helicopters in support of the RCMP and Joint Task Force 2 after the Chinook’s retirement. In 1996, 450 Squadron was deactivated after almost three decades of uniquely tactical aviation (helicopter) service to the CF and was formally disbanded on January 1, 1998.

On May 2, 2012, the squadron was re-established as 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron to fly the Canadian Forces’ CH-147F Chinook helicopters. The squadron is based at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, Ont., and reports to 1 Wing Kingston, Ont.

The Royal Canadian Air Force accepted the first F-model Chinook on June 24, 2013, at the Boeing manufacturing facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was officially welcomed to Canada at a ceremony in Ottawa on June 27, 2013.


The complete squadron history is available on the National Defence, Directorate of History and Heritage website.


Contact information

450 Tactical Aviation Squadron
c/o Canadian Forces Base Petawawa
PO BOX 9999 Stn Main
Petawawa ON  K8H 2X3

Squadron badge

 By Air to Battle

Significance: Since the Vikings are considered to be among the first people to venture forth into unknown and uncharted areas, the Viking motif bears suitable reference to the fact that the squadron was the first Canadian heavy transport helicopter squadron formed to venture into the comparatively new role of logistic air support using helicopters.