The seven advanced helicopters acquired under the AIR 9000 Phase 5C Medium Lift Helicopters project, which will replace Army’s existing CH-47D variants, were ordered as part of a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program agreement in 2012.
Boeing explained that major developments on the CH-47F include a digital cockpit, advanced communications system and new avionics. The configuration for Australia includes a new rotor brake that enables embarked operations aboard the Canberra class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships by actively stopping the rotor blades, rather than allowing the blades to naturally spin down once the engine is turned off after landing.
“Our CH-47D Chinooks have been real workhorses for Australia, both here and on operations overseas, and our new CH-47F Chinooks are set to be even more dependable, affordable and capable assets,” said Rear Admiral Tony Dalton, head of Helicopters, Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems and Guided Weapons at the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG).
The new helicopters will be based with the 5th Aviation Regiment at RAAF Base Townsville. Boeing Defence Australia will provide on-site operational maintenance support, having supported the CH-47D since 2010.