The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) signed an FMS – Foreign Military Sale – contract with the US Army Security Assistance Command to procure seven new build Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters, two simulators and spares during a ceremony at the Australian Embassy in Washington on March 19.
Defence Minister John Faulkner approved the purchase of the Chinooks, under Project Air 9000 Phase 5C, on February 25 to replace the Army’s existing six CH-47Ds Chinooks operated by C Squadron, 5 Avn Regt, based at Townsville.
The ‘Foxtrots’ will include minor Australian specific mission equipment enhancements including crashworthy crew and passenger seating, fitment of door-mounted miniguns and underfloor ballistic protection. Largely, the Chinooks will be common to the US Army fleet to leverage engineering and other support benefits.
The first two CH-47s are planned to enter service in 2014, with all seven expected to be in service by 2017.