The Commonwealth government has agreed to extend Boeing’s sustainment contract for the Army’s CH-47F Chinook fleet, taking the contract’s total value to $89 million.
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 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.
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.
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.”
Amy List, director of sustainment operations for Boeing Defence Australia welcomed the contract extension.
“Our highly-skilled teams in Townsville, Oakey and Brisbane are delivering world-leading maintenance, engineering, logistics and training solutions to help ensure the CH-47F fleet continues to meet its operational requirements,” List said.
“Since commencing the Chinook Integrated Support Services contract in 2018, we’ve grown our workforce by 40 percent as part of our commitment to growing our regional Australia rotary wing capability.
“The success of the contract is a testament to our strong partnership with the Australian Army and the Department of Defence and we thank them for their confidence in Boeing to continue supporting this mission-critical fleet and the women and men who operate them.”
[Related: Honeywell wins CH-47 Chinook contract]