American aerospace company Boeing has confirmed it has been engaged to produce 18 CH-47F Block I Chinooks for South Korea and one additional aircraft for Spain.
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The $793 million contract through the US Department of Defense foreign military sale program represents the final aircraft to be ordered on the current CH-47F Block I FMS contract with the US government and will build on production of advanced Block II configuration aircraft.
Heather McBryan, Boeing Vertical Lift H-47 vice-president and program manager, said production and deliveries of the CH-47F Block I will conclude with this order in 2027.
“The CH-47F Block I Chinook continues to be the pre-eminent heavy-lift helicopter in the world for good reason,” she said.
“While this concludes Block I orders as we continue our modernisation efforts, we’ll continue supporting our customers’ aircraft as they play a vital role for years to come.”
The order increases Spain’s Chinook Block I aircraft fleet to 18, while South Korea joins 15 other operators with digital cockpit and advanced cargo handling ability.
Vince Logsdon, Boeing Defense, Space & Security global business development and strategic marketing vice-president, said both Spain and South Korea will benefit from the improved capabilities of the Block I aircraft.
“South Korea adds to a growing list of operators around the globe that recognise the value the modernised CH-47F Chinook brings to the table,” he said.
“While Spain is already reaping the benefits of the aircraft in Europe, we are honoured to support South Korea’s heavy-lift helicopter modernisation with a versatile product capable of meeting the demanding mission requirements in Asia-Pacific.”
Chinook modernisation efforts will continue through the already underway H-47 Block II program.
Block II aircraft are expected to provide increased lift and range due to an improved drivetrain, a reinforced airframe, and redesigned fuel tanks.
Six Block II aircraft are already under contract with the US Army, 36 with US Army Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and 14 with the United Kingdom.
SOCOM has been receiving Block II aircraft for several years and the US Army will receive its first CH-47F Block II in early 2024.
“The Block II program is the natural successor to an already exceptional aircraft,” McBryan said.
“It will provide the US Army and international allies even more capabilities in a complex and evolving battlefield.”