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427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron
File:427 Special Operation Aviation Squadron.png
427 Squadron badge
Active 1944–1946
Country Canada
Type Special Operations helicopter squadron
Part of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command
Garrison/HQ CFB Petawawa
Nickname(s) Lion Squadron
Motto(s) Ferte Manus Certas – "Strike with a Sure Hand"
Engagements World War II
Operation Deliverance
War in Afghanistan
Decorations Distinguished Service Order
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Distinguished Flying Medal
Distinguished Flying Cross
Website 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron

427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron (427 SOAS) (French language: 427e Escadron d'opérations spéciales d'aviation, 427 EOSA) is a tactical helicopter unit that provides aviation support to Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. The squadron is based at CFB Petawawa, Ontario with a fleet of Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopters.[1] It was originally founded as No. 427 Squadron RCAF.


427 Squadron started as a bomber squadron formed at Croft, England on 7 November 1942 and spent its wartime entirely in England as a part of No. 6 Group RCAF, RAF Bomber Command. 427 flew Vickers Wellington Mk IIIs and Mk Xs from its first operational mission on 14 December 1942, a minelaying sortie to the Frisian Islands, until May 1943 when it was relocated to Leeming, North Yorkshire. Re-equipped with Handley Page Halifax Mk V aircraft, the squadron flew intensely until early 1944 when it replaced its inventory with Halifax Mk III aircraft. This fleet saw the greatest number of missions and in slightly more than a year's time they were then replaced by Avro Lancaster bombers prior to the end of WWII. The Lancasters were used for Prisoner of War repatriation until the end of May 1946. 427 was stood down on 1 June 1946.[2]

The squadron was reformed on 1 August 1952 at RCAF Station St Hubert (a suburb of modern day Montreal, Quebec, Canada) as 427 Fighter Squadron, flying Canadair Sabres, and was transferred to No. 3 (Fighter) Wing at Zweibrücken in March 1953. Selected as the first European RCAF squadron to receive the CF-104 Starfighter in the nuclear strike role, the squadron was stood down from its day-fighter role on 15 December 1962 and reformed as 427 (Strike-Attack) Squadron two days later.[3] On 1 February 1968, unification integrated 427 into the new Canadian Forces. The squadron was again disbanded on 1 July 1970.[3]

427 came back into existence as 427 Tactical Helicopter Squadron at CFB Petawawa, where it remains today.[4]

1 February 2006 saw command of 427 transferred to Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, as it took on a full-time role of special operations aviation support. Shortly thereafter, it was renamed as, "427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron (SOAS)."[1] Unlike the 160th SOAR (US Army), there are no specialized standards (in the "Special Operations context") for any 427 SOAS members unlike the other units in CANSOFCOM – JTF 2, CSOR and CJIRU and entrance into 427 SOAS requires only "negotiations through Career Managers and losing units."[5]

Aircraft flown by 427 Squadron



Battle honours

427 Squadron was awarded the following battle honours, which are carried on their standard:[4]

  • English Channel and North Sea 1943–1945
  • Baltic 1944–1945
  • Fortress Europe 1943–1944
  • France and Germany 1944–1945
  • Biscay 1944
  • Biscay Ports 1943–1944
  • Ruhr 1943–1945
  • Berlin 1943–1944
  • German Ports 1943–1945
  • Normandy 1944
  • Rhine

See also


External links

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