Australia set to acquire three more CH-47F Chinooks

Australian Army Chinook helicopter commissioning
A crewman with an Australian Army CH-47F Chinook.

The US Department of State has approved the possible sale of three more Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters to Australia.

The potential Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program deal, which is valued at US$180 million and includes related equipment and support, would take the Australian Army’s fleet size to 10 aircraft.

Boeing said it delivered the seventh CH-47F for Army in August, within budget and three weeks ahead of schedule, under an agreement struck in 2012. The AIR 9000 Phase 5C Medium Lift Helicopters project called for the acquisition of seven aircraft to replace six CH-47D helicopters.

Australia’s CH-47Fs will be maintained in the US Army’s baseline configuration, with the main difference being the fitment of a rotor brake to allow embarked operations from the Canberra class amphibious assault ships.

Comments

  1. Raymond says

    Excellent news. The ADF originally had 12 CH-47C, then only four CH-47D before two more were ordered bringing the total to six (a further two ordered later due to attrition). With three additional CH-47F bringing the fleet to ten, the ADF’s medium lift helicopter fleet strength is getting back to what it should be.

    I’m guessing that the successful Foxtrot deliveries helped secure the extra aircraft. Another fantastic announcement for Australia’s defence forces. I can’t help feeling that there’s been a lot of good news in recent times. Very welcome.

  2. Jason says

    Good news but remember this is only a DASC request which is required for Congressional approval, not necessarily an order. We’ll need to wait for the White Paper and Force Structure Review before this is confirmed.

  3. john says

    Know all the aussie army needs is a light Utility helicopter like the Bell UH-1Y Venom it can also be used on the LHD unless the EC 135 will be used in that role for light utility helicopter and Training helicopter so the helicoper number would be for me i would add a light utility helicpter

    41 MRH 90s
    22 ARH
    10 CH-47F
    15 as ordered last year EC135 for training
    10 Bell UH-1Y Venom for light utility or buy H145M to keep the fleet types of helicopters dowm

  4. Clinton says

    Given all the recent operations in the South Pacific / Asian region, it would be wise to triple the numbers of our CH-47F fleet to 30. This would afford training, exercise commitments and Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) missions. It would also further provide capability to both LHD’s while maintaining a sufficient numbers for fleet maintenance rotation cycles.

    Just a thought..

  5. Raymond says

    Clinton, okay so which other essential defence capability do you propose cutting or culling to accommodate your suggestion of having 30 Chinooks in the ADF’s inventory?

    Why does someone always have to make an unrealistic comment of needing massive numbers of something as soon as an increase is announced or revealed? What’s wrong with being grateful for the extra we’re getting (assuming it proceeds to acquisition)?

    Thank you for advocating defence however; I’d much rather that then the ignorant comments of those that argue we don’t need any…

  6. Wombat says

    its all good to buy more kit, but what about the workforce to support them. $180M buys 1,200 support staff at an average $150K per year each. This equates to 60 staff for 20 years before adding in running and life cycle costs, or approx. 200 personnel over the same period in total. Here’s hoping the government has allowed for this going forward as it has failed when it purchased more C17s and KC30s. Notwithstanding, as per all recent ADF airlift purchases we have done well in the “shiny assets” department

  7. Raymond says

    Billy bob, if the MRH’s were useless like you claim, then I highly doubt that the ADF and the Government would have persisted throughout the issues they’ve had, which I believe are mostly resolved. The order would have been cancelled as not fit for purpose, as were the Seasprites (without getting into the ins and outs of why these were withdrawn from service).

  8. Corey says

    About time our ADF start spending again and getting the fleet back to where it was. I personally believe out ARMY aircraft fleet should be

    120-160 MRH90s
    120 Tiger ARH
    100 CH-17Fs
    72-80 H645s LUH and LARH
    36-48 V-22s or maybe less for the SAS
    Also what about stealth MRH90 or stealth S-70 Blackhawks like the US Marines?

    Yes I know it would cost billions and it’s unrealistic but that’s what our ARMY fleet of aircraft should look like. Our ADF needs to grow by 3-4 times our current size and funding should increase to 6% GDP. I also come to the defence of the MHR90. It’s more capable than the S-70 Blackhawk. Yes it’s had teething problems but designing and building a brand new helicopter is a lot harder than designing and building a new air plane or jet liner that’s why not many new helicopters are designed and built like air planes are. The S-70 was an updated version of the UH-60 nothing really new about it. The MRH90 can carry more troops, more internal cargo and larger internal cargo. As these problems are found and fixed the MRH90 will as as good or even better than the UH-60 and S-70 Blackhawks. If anyone could tell me though if the NFH90 has a rear loading ramp or is it blocked off?

  9. Harry says

    Good news indeed, but I won say 2 more CH-47F to take the total to 12 is appropriate or 6 more for a total of 16, especially considering some will be deployed to the new LHDs. An for that same reason another 14 Tigers to take the total to 36 is worth considering.

  10. the road runner says

    The 3 chooks were excess helicopters of the US Army multi year buy. Australia was lucky to get these birds threw FMS and at such a great price .The ADF is lacking is helicopters so extra birds are very welcome.

    Our Blackhawks need to stay in service longer …Defence wanted Blackhawks but Government chose Eurocopters as the prefered bidder..

    The tigers will cost us a hefty price for a mid life upgrade ….the upgrade cost close to buying a new fleet of helicopters.There is talk Government may even scrap the MLU of the Tiger and select the Zulu or Apache..AH-1z flying off the decks of the LHD would be a welcome sight imho.

  11. Corey says

    AH-1z would requite additional equipment to move them about the LHDs. I don’t see how the Tigers have underperformed. Yes I do know there was something wrong with their AC unit which was fixed but as far as I know they’re as good as the Apache etc. The Apaches would also have to be maranised as they aren’t used out at sea. If we already have Tigers in the fleet why not just either upgrade them and or buy additional aircraft. . I’m sure it would be cheaper than buying a whole new fleet of ARHs.