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Defence Helicopter

UK signs on the dotted line for extended-range Chinooks

14th May 2021 - 09:38 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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New CH-47ER helicopters for the RAF will include extended-range fuel tanks, an advanced digital cockpit, modernised airframe, and a digital automatic flight control system. (Photo: RAF)

The RAF will receive the first of 14 new heavy-lift helicopters in 2026.

The RAF is receiving 14 new Chinook helicopters from the US for £1.4 billion ($1.97 billion) under the FMS programme.

Boeing will begin to deliver the heavy-lift CH-47ER aircraft from 2026. They will be based at RAF Odiham, the home of the Chinook fleet. 

The new aircraft will have a top speed of 300km/h and a range of new capabilities such as an advanced digital cockpit, modernised airframe, and a digital automatic flight control system.

Shephard Defence Insight forecasts that delivery of the CH-47ERs to the RAF is expected to be completed by the end of 2030.

The RAF is retiring the oldest CH-47Ds in its fleet, ‘enabling investment in the new aircraft to modernise the UK heavy-lift capability’, it noted in a 13 May announcement. 

Air Vice-Marshal Nigel Colman, Commander of Joint Helicopter Command, said the CH-47ER procurement ‘assures Chinook operations for the decades ahead and is representative of our commitment to modernise capabilities whilst maintaining interoperability with key allies’.

In October 2018, the US State Department approved an FMS of 16 CH-47 Chinooks fitted with extended range fuel tanks to the UK. The request was subsequently reduced to 14 helicopters.

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