427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron

Badge: Argent in front of a maple leaf Vert a lion rampant Or langued and armed Gules.
Motto : Ferte Manus Certas (Striking with a sure hand)
Significance: The combination of a lion representing England and a maple leaf for Canada indicates the formation of the squadron in England.

427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron (SOAS), located at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, Ontario is an air force unit embedded as an integral element of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM).

In 1942, 427 Lion Squadron was created. It was disbanded after the war ended, but in 1962, it was called into action as a fighter squadron before being disbanded again eight years later. The squadron returned to operation as a tactical helicopter unit in 1971. 

In 2006, 427 Squadron was reorganized to support the stand-up of CANSOFCOM and, in 2007, it was formally designated as 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron.  

The 427 SOAS’s mission is to generate high readiness air detachments capable of providing the necessary aviation effects and integrate them into CANSOFCOM high-readiness Special Operations Task Forces for the conduct of domestic and international operations.   

Though 427 SOAS primarily supports CANSOFCOM through the provision of mobility, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and firepower effects to CANSOFCOM’s operational units, it is also interoperable with the rest of the Canadian Armed Forces. 427 SOAS provides tactical airlift of troops and equipment, casualty evacuation and logistical support, and can support search and rescue operations in central Canada when required. 

427 SOAS’s elements were originally focused on domestic humanitarian operations such as the January 1998 Ice Storm in Eastern Canada, and the November 1998 mission to help the victims of Hurricane Mitch.

Over the years, 427 SOAS developed an expeditionary capability that has been exercised in different parts of the world. In recent years, 427 SOAS participated in Exercise FLINTLOCK, an annual regional exercise among African, Western and United States counterterrorism forces, in multiple countries in West Africa. It also deployed to the Middle-East as part of Operation IMPACT, the Canadian Armed Forces mission to build the military capabilities of Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, and set the conditions for their long-term success. 

427 SOAS has the distinction of having its own coin. The red squadron coin first appeared in 1942-1943 when Metro Goldwyn Mayer adopted the squadron, issued it to its members and as legend has it, provided them with a "lifetime" pass to MGM Theatres.

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

427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron
c/o Canadian Forces Base Petawawa
PO BOX 9999 Stn Main
Petawawa ON  K8H 2X3

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