AgustaWestland is pleased to announce that the first ICH-47F Chinook for the Italian Army successfully accomplished its maiden flight on June 24th at Vergiate in Italy. The aircraft took to the air for 15 minutes, performing as expected whilst carrying out basic handling tests and main systems checks.
This ICH-47F Chinook is the first of an order for 16 units plus four options placed by the Italian MoD Procurement Agency (ARMAEREO). The contract also includes a five year logistic support service. The delivery of the first aircraft is planned in early 2014 with final deliveries in 2017.
The ICH-47Fs will be operated by the Italian Army Aviation 1st Regiment “Antares” based in Viterbo and they will replace the 40 CH-47C Chinooks that have been in service since 1973.
Under a Joint Industrial Agreement with Boeing, AgustaWestland is prime contractor for the Italian ICH-47F program, with responsibility for systems integration, final assembly and aircraft delivery to the Italian Army. In addition AgustaWestland is also being qualified by Boeing to produce the entire drive systems.
Boeing Rotorcraft Systems builds the fuselage at its Ridley Park, PA, facility in the United States of America whilst final assembly is carried out at AgustaWestland’s Vergiate plant in Northern Italy.
Alessandro Parrini, Senior Vice President Italian Government Business Unit, AgustaWestland said: “This is an exciting moment for us and our customer. The Italian Army will soon fly the latest variant of the proven heavy lift platform that will give it new capabilities. This maiden flight confirms that the strategic partnership between the Company and the Service is providing a significant contribution to the modernisation of the Italian Army helicopter fleet.”
The ICH-47F customized version incorporates a secure communications system, self-protection system and advanced datalink system. This new ICH-47F Chinook variant has a Maximum All Up Weight (MAUW) of 23 tons, is equipped with two Honeywell T55-GA-714A engines giving it excellent “hot and high” capability and is suitable for all weather operations.
The primary tactical mission of the ICH-47F aircraft is to provide air transportation for equipment and troops. Cargo can be carried internally and externally using the aircraft’s cargo hook system. The helicopter’s payload, long range and high cruise speed make it a unique asset to meet the Italian Army’s needs and can additionally perform special support functions, disaster relief and firefighting roles.
The Joint Industrial Agreement between AgustaWestland and Boeing also includes a licensing arrangement that enables AgustaWestland to market, sell and produce these “Chinooks” for other countries.