The Italian Army has taken delivery of the first two ICH-47F Chinook helicopters from AgustaWestland, at the company’s Vergiate plant in Italy.

The new ICH-47F rotorcraft, which will be operated by the Italian Army’s Aviation 1st Regiment ‘Antares’ in Viterbo, will replace the existing CH-47C Chinooks, which have been in service since 1973.

The ICH-47F helicopters are part of a contract signed with Boeing and AgustaWestland in May 2009.

It also includes logistic support for five years, with all the aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2017.

Powered by two Honeywell T55-GA-714A engines, the ICH-47F features secure communications, self-protection and advanced data link systems. It has a maximum all-up weight of 23t.

It is primarily designed to provide air transportation for equipment and troops. A cargo hook system allows cargo to be carried internally and externally.

"The ICH-47F features secure communications, self-protection and advanced data link systems."

AgustaWestland said in a statement: "The helicopter’s payload, long-range and high cruise speed make it a unique asset to meet the Italian Army’s needs, and [it] can additionally perform special support functions, disaster relief and fire-fighting roles."

AgustaWestland acts as a prime contractor for systems integration, final assembly and aircraft delivery, as part of a joint industrial agreement with Boeing.

Boeing builds the fuselage at its rotorcraft plant at Ridley Park in Pennsylvania, US, while AgustaWestland completes the final assembly at its Vergiate plant.

Image: An ICH-47F Chinook helicopter. Photo: courtesy of AgustaWestland Spa.

Defence Technology