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Boeing Defence given the green light for Chinook contract extension

The Australian Defence Force has approved a $41 million contract extension with Boeing Defence Australia for its Chinook fleet.

The Australian Defence Force has approved a $41 million contract extension with Boeing Defence Australia for its Chinook fleet.

Under the extension, the company will continue to support the maintenance, training and sustainment services for Army’s fleet of 14 CH-47F Chinook tandem rotor helicopters.

The total contract value will increase to $146 million adding an additional 15 ongoing positions and three apprenticeship employees in Queensland.

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The contract included the arrival of two additional Chinook helicopters in 2022 joining the Australian Army Aviation Command’s existing CH-47F Chinook medium-lift helicopters operated by C Squadron, 5th Aviation Regiment in Townsville.

First Assistant Secretary Joint Aviation System Division Shane Fairweather said the $41 million contract extension would ensure continued support for the Chinook fleet over the next five years.

“Chinooks have formed a significant component of Australia’s contribution to battlefield aviation capability,” Fairweather said.

“The Australian Defence Force has a longstanding history with Chinooks. The platform has a reputation for consistently delivering effective, safe and affordable capability for Defence.

“The CH-47F Chinook fleet is an important capability for Defence, providing critical lift capability on several domestic and regional operations, including Bushfire Assist in 2020, and Tonga and Flood Assist in 2022.

“This contract extension will expand the maintenance and training support for our Chinook fleet, while boosting opportunities for defence industry in Queensland.”

Australia’s CH-47F Chinook fleet is based in Townsville, with support services provided in Oakey and Brisbane. In January this year, two CH-47 Chinooks were among several aircraft deployed with the 5th Aviation Regiment to Western Australia to help with the clean-up efforts following “once-in-a-century” flooding in the Kimberley region.

Chinook helicopters are also in demand internationally with the US State Department approving the possible sale of a fleet of the heavy-lift helicopters to South Korea in December 2022. Under that deal, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced the approval of a potential sale of 18 Boeing-built CH-47F Chinook helicopters to the Republic of Korea (ROK) for an estimated US$1.5 billion (AU$2.2 billion).

In Europe, the German Ministry of Defence has ordered 60 Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to replace its Lockheed Martin-built CH-53 Sea Stallion fleet in a 2022 deal reportedly valued around $6 billion. Delivery is expected to take place from 2023 to 2029.

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