First Italian Army ICH-47F Chinook takes flight
The first ICH-47F Chinook built for the Italian Army has successfully accomplished its maiden flight in Vergiate, Italy. AgustaWestland said the 24 June flight saw the aircraft take to the air for 15 minutes, during which it performed as expected carrying out basic handling tests and main systems checks.
This is the first of 16 ICH-47F Chinook being built for the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) by AgustaWestland under a Joint Industrial Agreement with Boeing. The contract also includes a further four options and a five year logistic support service.
The first delivery to the Italian MoD is scheduled for 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.
The ICH-47F is a customised version that incorporates a secure communications system, self-protection system and advanced datalink system. This new ICH-47F Chinook variant has a Maximum All Up Weight 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 Italian Army will primarily deploy the ICH-47F aircraft in an air transportation for equipment and troop role. 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.
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.’
Under the contract AgustaWestland is prime contractor, with responsibility for systems integration, final assembly and aircraft delivery to the Italian Army. 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 US, whilst final assembly is carried out at AgustaWestland's Vergiate plant in Northern Italy.
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.
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