In a major milestone in the updating of the Australian Army’s cargo helicopter fleet, Australia has this month received its first two Boeing CH-47F Chinook advanced configuration aircraft from the total order of seven.
The acquisition is part of an ongoing transformation that’s allowing Australia to build one of the world’s newest and most technologically advanced armed forces. Five additional new Chinooks will be delivered this year, eventually replacing an existing fleet of six older CH-47D Chinooks.
“The outgoing CH-47D Chinooks have proved highly effective in Australian operations, and the new CH-47F Chinook will deliver an improved cargo helicopter for Australia’s Army,” said Rear Admiral Tony Dalton of Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation. “Furthermore, the project to deliver the new Chinooks remains on schedule and under budget.”
Australia was among the Chinook’s first international customers and now there are almost twenty countries operating the helicopter.
“Working with our Australian allies to build a modernised Chinook fleet enables more seamless operations with US and other forces,” said Col. Robert Barrie, project manager, US Army Cargo Helicopter Office.
“The Australian Army values the features and capabilities of the advanced CH‑47F Chinook and we delivered them as promised,” said Steve Parker, Boeing vice president, Cargo Helicopters and H-47 program manager. “These aircraft will meet their demanding mission requirements now and well into the future.”
The Australian Chinook fleet is flown by the Army’s 5th Aviation Regiment, 16th Aviation Brigade. Under the scope of the contract, Boeing Defence Australia will provide delivery and on-site operational maintenance support to the seven aircraft.
In mid 2014, the Australian government approved a $54.8 project for facilities at RAAFB Townsville, which will support the introduction and sustainment of the incoming seven CH-47F Chinooks, and corresponding replacement of 6 CH-47Ds there.
Construction is expected to begin in late 2014 and be complete by mid 2017, supporting about 50 full-time jobs over the life of the project.
For more than 70 years, Boeing and Australia have maintained a partnership operating and supporting a broad range of platforms that now includes, in addition to Chinook, the Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control System and C-17 Globemaster III.
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