Military

US Clears UK $3-Plus Billion Buy of 16 Chinooks

By Frank Wolfe | October 19, 2018
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A CH-47F Chinook helicopter with 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade maneuvers to pick up an M119A3 howitzer during sling load operations on Fort Bragg, N.C., May 4. Sling loading artillery pieces allow the artillery commander to place artillery equipment at a better location to provide ground forces with artillery support. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Steven Galimore)

A CH-47F Chinook helicopter with 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade maneuvers to pick up an M119A3 howitzer during sling load operations on Fort Bragg, N.C., May 4. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Steven Galimore)

The U.S. State Department has cleared the United Kingdom $3.5 billion purchase of 16 H-47 Extended Range Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.

The U.K. has about 60 Chinooks in its inventory and first bought the helicopters in the mid-1980s. The Extended Range Chinooks have twice the fuel capacity of standard H-47s. Worldwide, 20 countries have the Chinook in their inventories or on order.

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The Defense Security Cooperation Agency Oct. 19 said it delivered the required certification to Congress of the possible U.K. sale.

"The proposed sale will improve the United Kingdom's ability to meet current and future threats by providing a heavy-lift, rotary-wing capability able to execute missions in extreme environments across a full range of military operations," the agency said in a statement. "The United Kingdom will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces."

The UK H-47 win for Boeing comes amid a foreign sales effort by the company for the helicopter. The H-47 Extended Range is a top contender for a heavy-lift helicopter buy by Germany. In addition, Turkey began receiving its second lot of CH-47s in August under a Foreign Military Sales order.

In July, India’s first Ch-47F made its maiden flight. Flying under an FAA experimental ticket and designated the first CH-47F(I), the helicopter is the first of 15 on contract under a direct commercial sale to India. The experimental ticket is a unique requirement of DCS aircraft and is indicated by the word “experimental” stenciled over the aft door and an “N” appended to the tail number.

Boeing in 2015 signed a $3 billion contract sell India 22 AH-64 Apache gunships and 15 Chinooks after at least six years of engagement with the nation’s defense ministry.

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