Royal Air Force Boeing CH-47 Chinook Transport Helicopter
Royal Air Force Boeing CH-47 Chinook Transport Helicopter

Boeing Awarded $580 Million Contract for Royal Air Force H-47(ER) Chinook Modification

The Boeing Co., Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, received a delivery order in the amount of $580,598,636 on a previously negotiated option under a basic ordering agreement for 14 H-47 extended range rotary wing aircraft that satisfy the United Kingdom’s requirement for heavy assault, rotary wing aircraft. This modification exercises an option that was awarded on an existing delivery order. Foreign Military Sales funding from the United Kingdom in the amount of $580,598,636 is being obligated at the time of award. The majority of the work will be performed in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, and is expected to be completed by July 2026. U.S. Special Operations Command, Tampa, Florida, is the contracting activity.

The Boeing Chinook is a large, tandem rotor helicopter operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF). A series of variants based on the United States Army’s Boeing CH-47 Chinook, the RAF Chinook fleet is the largest outside the United States. RAF Chinooks have seen extensive service in the Falklands War, the Balkans, Northern Ireland, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The Chinook aircraft, normally based at RAF Odiham, provides heavy-lift support and transport across all branches of the British armed forces. The RAF has a total of 60 Chinooks in active inventory as of 2015. In 2018, the UK issued a request to the United States to purchase 16 additional aircraft. The Chinook is expected to remain in RAF service until the 2040s.

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The MH-47G Special Operations Aviation (SOA) version is currently being delivered to the U.S. Army. It is similar to the MH-47E, but features more sophisticated avionics including a digital Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS).
The MH-47G Special Operations Aviation (SOA) version is currently being delivered to the U.S. Army. The MH-47G also incorporates all of the new sections of the CH-47F. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Reed Knutson US Army 160th SOAR)

RAF Chinooks have been widely deployed in support of British military engagements, serving their first wartime role in Operation Corporate, the Falklands War, in 1982. Chinooks were used in Operation Granby in the 1991 Gulf War, attached to large peace-keeping commitments in the Balkans, the continued British presence in Afghanistan, and in Operation Telic in the 2003 Iraq War. They provide routine supply and support missions to the British military, notably in Operation Banner in Northern Ireland. The helicopter has also been of use in military humanitarian missions and the extraction of civilians from warzones, such as the evacuation of Sierra Leone in 2000, and the evacuation from Lebanon in 2006.

The U.K. government and the Pentagon had agreed on a package worth $2 billion for the 14 Chinooks, together with engines, machine guns, and self-protection equipment. The letter describes the Chinooks as new-build H-47(ER) helicopters, referring to an Extended Range variant of the helicopter. Boeing has offered an extended range version with increased fuel capacity for its protracted heavy-lift rotorcraft requirement in the past. The configuration similar to the Block II MH-47G helicopters, special operations Chinooks based on the current standard Block II CH-47F variant, that the U.S. Special Operations Command is currently procuring.

Royal Air Force Boeing CH-47 Chinook Transport Helicopter
Royal Air Force Boeing CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter based at RAF Odiham conducting routine flying training in the Mountain Flying Training Area (MFTA) located in North Wales (Photo by Cpl Tim Laurence RAF/United Kingdom Ministry of Defence)
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