Australia has commissioned into service the first two of seven Boeing CH-47F Chinook “Foxtrot” cargo helicopters for the Australian Army.
The two helicopters are part of an A$631 million project that includes seven CH-47Fs and two flight simulators. The simulators were delivered in April 2014 and February 2015, and have since then been training Army Chinook crews. The first helicopters were delivered on schedule to the Aviation regiment at Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, in northern Queensland, in April. The final helicopter in the order is scheduled for delivery by the end of July.
Photo courtesy of the Australian Department of Defence
The new Chinooks are replacing an existing fleet of six CH-47D Chinooks in a major update of the Army’s cargo helicopter fleet.
The 5th Aviation regiment will achieve initial operational capability with the new Chinooks by December 2015, and a fully mature operational capability by January 2017, says Australian Defence Minister Kevin Andrews. “Pleasingly, the project remains on schedule and under budget,” he adds, with numerous recent and current Australian defense projects not going the same way.
Australian Defence Minister Kevin Andrews, Photo courtesy of the Australian Department of Defence
Under the contract, Boeing Defence Australia is providing delivery and on-site operational maintenance support for the seven aircraft. The government is investing a further A$49.8 million to support introduction and sustainment of the new type, with a new support facility at Townsville scheduled for completion in mid-2017.
“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,” says Rear Admiral Tony Dalton of the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation. Most recently, Australia’s Chinooks have been deployed to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Pam, and in Nepal following the earthquake.
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