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Boeing wins 12-month extension to Chinook contract

written by Adam Thorn | March 18, 2021
Australian Army CH-47D Chinook helicopter airlifts RAAF Mirage A3-36 from the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre and flies it home to RAAF Base Tindal for extensive restoration. (Australian Aviation archive)

Boeing Defence Australia has won a 12-month extension to its contract to support Australia’s Chinooks.

The updated CH-47F Chinook Integrated Support Services (CISS) contract will now run until 2025 and retains 45 jobs in Townsville, Oakey and Brisbane.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said, “These contract changes will increase the level of services provided to Defence and expand the maintenance and training support provided for the CH-47F Chinook fleet.

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“The recent increase in services for the Chinook fleet will continue to boost opportunities for the defence industry in Queensland.”

The Australian Army currently has 10 Chinooks, which served in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2013, and were also deployed to help with the recent ‘black summer’ bushfire season.

“During the devastating bushfire season, Australian Army Chinooks provided support to firefighting operations and delivered humanitarian assistance to remote and isolated communities in South Australia and Victoria,” Minister Price said.

The iconic Chinook can trace its history all the way back to the 1960s. Australia currently has 10 CH-47s, which have a top speed of 315km/h. Their primary roles include troop transportation, artillery emplacement and battlefield resupply, which they achieve via a wide loading ramp at the rear of its fuselage.

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The good news for Boeing comes weeks after the government announced Australia will spend an extra $115 million to buy three more Loyal Wingman aircraft, doubling the size of the fleet.

Loyal Wingman, fully unveiled to the world in May, is the first military aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.

It uses AI to help both manned and unmanned aircraft in mid-air, hence the Australian project name Loyal Wingman.

The acting Minister for Defence Marise Payne said, “Air Force and Boeing are delivering world-leading, cutting edge capability that will help protect and support Australia’s most valuable Defence aircraft, and the pilots who fly them.”

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