Lend Lease has been awarded a contract for the construction of facilities to support the Australian Army's new CH-47 Chinook multimission helicopters.
Awarded by the Australian Department of Defence, the $54.8m agreement will see the company construct CH-47 Chinook facilities at the Royal Australian Air Force Base Townsville, Queensland.
Australian Defence Minister Parliamentary Secretary Darren Chester said: "This project will contribute to the modernisation of the Australian Defence Force's primary medium-lift helicopter capability.
"Over the next three years, this investment will provide economic benefits to the region, including [the] potential involvement of the local construction industry and sub-contractors.
"Approximately 50 full-time jobs are anticipated to be created over the life of the project."
Construction work under the contract is expected to start before the end of the year and be completed by 2017.
In March 2010, the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation signed a $513.5m contract with the US Army Security Assistance Command for the delivery of seven CH-47F Chinooks, as well as two simulators and associated spares.
Boeing will supply the helicopters that incorporate some minor Australian-specific mission equipment enhancements, including crash-worthy crew and passenger seating, as well as mini guns and underfloor ballistic protection.
The helicopters are scheduled to replace the army's existing CH-47D Chinook fleet.
Powered by Honeywell T55-GA-714A engines, the CH-47F Chinook is an upgraded version of the D model, and is used for military, humanitarian, disaster relief, search and rescue, and fire-fighting operations.
It has an upgraded airframe, featuring greater single-piece construction for lower maintenance requirements and can fly at speeds of more than 175mph, with a payload of more than 21,000lb.
It is used by the UK and US armies, as well as the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Image: The Australian Army's CH-47D Chinook helicopter at Canberra Airport. Photo: courtesy of Jeff Gilbert.