The Australian Defence Force will buy two extra CH-47D Chinook transport helicopters, bringing its fleet to seven and replacing a Chinook downed earlier this year in Afghanistan.
The Chinooks are being purchased from the US and are expected to arrive in Townsville next month, where they will undergo servicing and modification to the current Australian CH-47D configuration. They will likely enter service by mid-2012, Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare said in a statement.
The ministers said the additional aircraft will reduce pressure on the training and maintenance schedule for the Army’s CH-47D fleet and will lead to enhanced support for the two Chinooks currently deployed to the Middle East.
The Army has deployed Chinooks to Afghanistan since 2006. One of the transports, A15-102, crashed during a resupply mission in Zabul Province on May 30 this year, killing LT Marcus Case, a Heron UAV pilot.
The CH-47D fleet is scheduled to be replaced by seven new CH-47F Chinooks from around 2016.