The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has taken delivery of an additional two CH-47D Chinook transport helicopters from Boeing in Townsville, bringing its total Chinook fleet to seven.
The additional aircraft, currently deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO), are expected to reduce pressure on the training and maintenance schedule for the army's CH-47D fleet, allowing it to better support ongoing operations.
Australia operates the Chinook fleet to ensure continuous service for overseas operations and aircrew training.
Australian defence minister, Stephen Smith, said: "The two helicopters will undergo deep maintenance and modification as per the current Australian CH-47D configuration followed by deliveries to the Army in mid 2012."
The Boeing Chinook CH-47D is a tandem-rotor, heavy-transport lift helicopter designed to transport troops, artillery, ammunition, fuel, water, barrier materials, supplies and equipment in the battlefield.
The Chinook is also used for medical evacuation, disaster relief, search and rescue, aircraft recovery, parachute drops and fire-fighting missions in all weather conditions.
The helicopter is equipped with a T55-GA-714A turboshaft engine and features a triple-hook cargo system that enables it to carry heavy payloads of up to 26,000lb, including the 155mm M198 howitzer and 30 rounds of ammunition, at a speed of 250km/h.
The Chinook features advanced avionics and electronics, including the Global Positioning System (GPS), and can accommodate two high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) or a HMMWV together with a 105mm howitzer and gun crew.
The Australian CH-47D fleet is scheduled to be replaced by seven new upgraded CH-47F Chinooks from 2014 to 2017.
Image: Australian Army receives additional two CH-47D Chinook transport helicopters from Boeing.