Boeing’s UK Rotorcraft Support has started flight testing the first Chinook Mk4. As part of Project JULIUS, Boeing Defence UK flew the helicopter for the first time late in 2010 in Hampshire, England. The project involves modifying 38 Mk2/2As into the Mk4/4A configuration and upgrading eight Mk3s into Mk5s. Subcontractor Vector Aerospace is updating the helicopters at its Gosport Fleetlands facility, including installation of Thales’ TopDeck avionics and a third crew seat.
In a separate development in late January, Boeing joined with program suppliers and the Netherlands Ministry of Defence to celebrate the first flight of the Royal Netherlands Air Force CH-47F Chinook. The event took place at Summit Aviation in Middletown, Del. Using two prototypes, Boeing plans to test the airframe and systems with around 100 hours of flight tests through August. (From March 2011 Rotorcraft Report)