The Australian Army has inducted the first two CH-47F Chinook ‘Foxtrot’ helicopters into service during a ceremony at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Townsville in northern Queensland, Australia.
In May 2010, the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation signed a A$513.5m ($470m) contract with the US Army Security Assistance Command to deliver seven CH-47F Chinooks, as well as two flight simulators and associated spares.
Under the contract, Boeing Defence Australia will provide delivery and on-site operational maintenance support for the aircraft, which are scheduled to replace the army’s existing fleet of six CH-47D Chinook helicopters.
Australian Defence Materiel Organisation Helicopters Division head rear admiral Tony Dalton said: "The outgoing CH-47D Chinooks have proved highly effective in Australian operations, and the new CH-47F Chinook will deliver an improved cargo helicopter for Australia’s Army.
"Furthermore, the project to deliver the new Chinooks remains on schedule and under budget."
Boeing Cargo Helicopters vice-president and H-47 programme manager Steve Parker said: "The Australian Army values the features and capabilities of the advanced CH-47F Chinook and we delivered them as promised.
"These aircraft will meet their demanding mission requirements now and well into the future."
Scheduled to be operated by the Army’s 5th Aviation Regiment from the RAAF Base Townsville, the helicopters will provide a modern and improved cargo helicopter capability for the army.
Both simulators have already been delivered and are now being used for army’s Chinook crews to safely train for a wide range of operational and mission-related scenarios.
Boeing is set to deliver the remaining five Chinooks this year, thus completing the fleet, which is expected to achieve initial operational capability by December and a fully mature, operational capability by January 2017.
Australia is also investing $49.8m to support the introduction and sustainment of the new helicopters.
Construction of CH-47 Chinook facilities at RAAF Base Townsville is scheduled to be completed in mid 2017.
Image: The Australian Army’s CH-47F Chinooks helicopter in flight. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.