The US federal government has given the green light for Australia to purchase another four CH-47F Chinooks and equipment for $335 million.
In a statement, the State Department said it was vital to the national interest to “assist our ally in developing and maintain a strong and ready self-defence capability”.
It comes a week after the country also approved Australia’s purchase of up to 12 General Atomics MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones.
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 earlier.
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.
Last month, Australian Aviation reported how Boeing Defence Australia won a 12-month extension to its contract to support Australia’s fleet.
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.
“The recent increase in services for the Chinook fleet will continue to boost opportunities for the defence industry in Queensland.”
The deal for the helicopters comes alongside a similar $2.2 billion contract to acquire tanks and other armoured vehicles.
The full Chinook agreement includes:
- eight T55-GA-714A aircraft turbine engines;
- five AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS);
- eight Embedded Global Positioning System (GPS)/Inertial Navigation Systems (INS/EGI) +429; and
- two EAGLE+429 Embedded Global Positioning System (GPS)/Inertial Navigation Systems (INS/EGI).