Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and the Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) CH-47D Chinook fleet will be bolstered by a further two helicopters following the loss of one aircraft on operations in Afghanistan in May 2011.
The purchase of the additional CH-47D Chinooks, effected through Defence signing of a Letter of Offer and Acceptance with the United States will bring Australia’s total CH-47D Chinook fleet to seven.
The additional aircraft will reduce pressure on the training and maintenance schedule for the ADF Chinook fleet resulting in enhanced support to the two Chinook’s currently deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO).
The two additional aircraft have been sourced from the United States, and will be transported to Australia for servicing and modification to the current Australian CH-47D configuration. The aircraft are expected to arrive in Townsville by the end of January next year and are anticipated to be ready for domestic operations from mid-2012.
The CH-47D Chinook undertakes the medium-lift utility role with great versatility, including troop movement, battlefield equipment transport, search and rescue and disaster relief roles. The CH-47D Chinook aircraft has been an extremely capable workhorse since they entered ADF service in 1995.
This procurement will ensure the continued utility of Chinook aircraft on overseas operations, domestically through Defence Assistance to the Civil Community and in training and sustainment of aircrews.
The CH-47D Chinook have been deployed on Operation Slipper in Afghanistan since 2006. They have performed an outstanding service for both ADF and ISAF forces and are in high demand across Afghanistan due to its superior performance in hot and high altitude conditions.
The CH-47D fleet will be replaced with seven new CH-47F Chinook helicopters from around 2016.