Defence Minister John Faulkner has announced that the government has given second pass approval for the acquisition of seven CH-47F Chinooks for the Australian Army.
The acquisition of additional Chinooks to initially complement and then replace the Army’s six existing CH-47Ds, which have been substantially upgraded in recent years to a standard not dissimiliar to the F model, was originally flagged by Liberal Defence Minister Brendan Nelson during the 2007 election campaign, and was confirmed by the Labor government in last year’s Defence White Paper and subsequent 2009 Defence Capability Plan under Project Air 9000 Phase 5C.
“These new helicopters will give the ADF a robust, deployable medium lift helicopter capability out to 2040,” Minister Faulkner said in a statement. “Capability and support issues in the current Chinook helicopters will be addressed with the acquisition of the new model aircraft, which will bring safety, supportability and operational benefits to the ADF.”
The first two CH-47Fs will enter service in 2014, and all seven are planned to be in service by 2017.