Greg Combet, the Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, today announced the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) has signed a contract with the US Army Security Assistance Command to acquire seven CH-47F Chinook helicopters, two Simulators and associated spares.
“The aircraft will replace the existing fleet of six CH-47D Chinooks operated by C Squadron of the 5th Aviation Regiment based in Townsville, and the first two aircraft are planned to enter service in 2014, with all seven in service by 2017,” Mr Combet said.
“The CH-47D fleet is providing outstanding support to the ADF, particularly in Afghanistan, and this acquisition of seven new CH-47F Chinook helicopters by the Australian Government will strengthen our ability to support our soldiers in the future.
“The CH-47Fs purchased for the Australian Defence Force are planned to incorporate some minor Australian specific mission equipment enhancements including crashworthy crew and passenger seating, fitment of Miniguns, and underfloor ballistic protection.
“However, the primary aircraft elements will remain consistent with the US Army fleet so we can leverage the benefits of their large fleet for engineering and other support.
“The contract to procure the aircraft through the US Government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme was signed at a ceremony at the Australian Embassy in Washington on Friday 19 March. It follows Government approval of Project AIR 9000 Phase 5C announced by the Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, on 25 February 2010.
“Australian industry will have the opportunity to incorporate the Australian specific enhancements and to support the new helicopters as part of through-life support arrangements,” Mr Combet said.
The contract was valued at $513.5million.