The UK government is reportedly looking to make a rapid buy of up to 30 CH-47 Chinook helicopters as a response to a perceived lack of rotary lift for its forces in Afghanistan.
The RAF currently operates 38 Chinooks, some of which have been recently returned to the air after being grounded for nearly a decade due to certification issues. An additional 30 Chinooks would allow the RAF to deploy as many as 20 at a time to Afghanistan and other areas.
A major sticking point is the UK’s flagging defence budget which has seen cuts flagged to major programs across the board including the UK’s eventual JSF buy and the possibility of downgrading one of the RN’s new aircraft carriers to amphibious support duties.
Any rapid acquisition of Chinooks would also have to be approved by the US Army which is taking new and remanufactured airframes from Boeing as fast as it can to replace ageing and damaged aircraft itself.