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Three more CH-47F helicopters delivered ahead of schedule in FMS deal

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 27, 2016
One of the three new Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters arrives at RAAF Base Townsville on June 13 aboard a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft. (Defence)
One of the three new Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters arrives at RAAF Base Townsville on June 13 aboard a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft. (Defence)

The Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) has delivered three additional Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters two and a half months ahead of schedule in a major boost to the Australian Army’s medium-lift helicopter capability.

Acquired under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, the new Chinooks are straight off the Boeing production line and are fitted with the latest US Army technology, including updated avionics and next-generation self-protection systems, according to a statement from CASG. The addition of three CH-47Fs to the existing fleet of seven significantly expands battlefield capability.

Executive Officer Cargo Helicopter Management Unit Major Michael Hansen said that the success of the project represents a significant amount of negotiation, contract work and governmental liaison.

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“Achieving delivery of three new aircraft inside four months demonstrates highly effective and coordinated project acquisition between the US Army, Vice Chief of the Defence Force Group, the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, and Army Aviation,” he said.

“By employing the Foreign Military Sales strategy, the ADF also leverages the benefits of being part of a much larger fleet, which is growing to almost 500 CH-47Fs flying with the US Army. Not only does the ADF see the benefits of scale in the initial purchase price, but the ongoing cost of consumable and repairable items is greatly reduced.”

The Integrated Investment Program lists the ‘Additional CH-47F Chinook Helicopters (three helicopters)’ project as having an approximate investment value of between $300 million and $400 million.

One of the three new Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters arrives at RAAF Base Townsville on June 13 aboard a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft. (Defence)
A Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopter being unloaded from US Air Force C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft at RAAF Base Townsville. (Defence)

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10 Comments

  • Keef

    says:

    Isn’t it amazing how things get delivered ahead of time and on budget when you buy of the shelf!
    There is a lesson here for the government……nah waste of time they cant learn from there mistakes!
    Good to see another three delivered…….maybe we could get another two and then we would be back to 12 like we had before.

  • Derrick Aguero

    says:

    Keef, totally agree with you on the off the shelf products. As for the additional 2 units, I read somewhere that its already on the books, but in saying that it would be nice to see on some V-22 for the navy boys to operate on the new landing ships…. (nice to have, but nevey going to happen)

  • Tomcat Terry

    says:

    Two more in tactical combat fit out ie gunships would be nice, yes. Hope rumours are true?

  • Harry

    says:

    Keef, only off the shelf from the US. Off the shelf from Europe is a whole different ball game! Agree with the number 12 too!

  • BJ

    says:

    its a real shame we don’t have any MH-47’s, they would do well for CSAR and SOF insertion. The other problem is that all the Chinooks are based in Townsville, in case of a natural disaster they are too far away!

  • Fabian

    says:

    I would like to see the Australian army and navy have a combined fleet of marinised helicopters. I am looking towards the uh-1z viper and uh-1y venom. I reckon the helicopters are very sustainable especially on the new helicopter docks we got. Seeing these aircraft would be amazing. The viper could also be a replacement for the arh tiger and the venom could be used for special forces, I haven’t heard anything from the government but to be honest these aircraft are not expensive and would definitely fit in The Australian defence force.

  • PeterE

    says:

    Off the shelf is all well and good. It’s the Australianisation of our equipment that causes the issues.
    F18, Sea Sprites.
    Tiger and NH90 were fine until we played with them.

  • BANKS

    says:

    There’s two contrasting sides to the FMS coin.

    One it’s very efficient, get delivered on time and on budget.

    The other side is that it massively hurts industry (at no fault of their own mind you), to the point where we lose the capability and skills required to maintain and mature the platform in Australia, by Australians.

    The start of this problem is only starting to show its head now due to the amount of FMS procurement Army/RAAF have made in the last couple of years. The primes are hurting, and if they fall/pull out. The competitiveness in the market will go with it, increasing costs for defence in the long run with bigger TLS costs from an overseas prime, because the skills aren’t here to support it.

    It all stems back to the lack of investment the Labor government at the time made in the much needed upgrading our defence platforms required. Defence has had to play catch up and the only way it could was through FMS.

    It’s all well and good having new shiny assets, but at what cost…?

  • Blacky

    says:

    Much like the Chinook,the Blackhawk replacement helicopter has happened pretty well too…a few ongoing teething issues but all in all Australia have had a good run with the past helicopter purchases. A job well done.

  • BH

    says:

    @Banks…
    I’m a little confused by your comment…
    FMS hurts local industry, and it’s now starting to bite after a good few years of FMS buys… Yet you hold the previous Labor govt responsible.
    It’s interesting in that several of the projects that were botched up or suffered major delays were actually ordered by the Howard govt. This was often against in many cases the advice of Defence and led to us having immature platforms, KC30A, wedgetail, f35, seasprite, AWD, MRH 90, Tiger etc.
    While I’m not defending Labor, even if they had ordered platforms earlier you would’ve either had; an even more immature platform or and FMS procured platform in service earlier that would’ve led to local industry being impacted earlier than what they have been today…?

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