At the virtual committee session, South Korea’s Defense Project Promotion Committee also approved a plan to purchase large military choppers from foreign companies under a project to replace aging CH-47D helicopters currently operated by the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA). The project is to last from 2022-28 with a budget estimated at 1.4 trillion won, the South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said. These new and upgraded helicopters are expected to be put into service with the Army Aviation Operations Command by 2026~2027.
DAPA is expected to hold a meeting soon to decide whether to buy new heavy-lift helicopters rather than upgrade the existing fleet. But industry sources expect buying new helos would take more time and end up costing more, depending on the variant. To get Block I CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters, which have been on the shopping list of the South Korean Army. If it doesn’t buy Block I, South Korea has an option to get Block II, which is to be produced for the U.S. Army first, and then it could take more time and costs to get the up-to-date, heavy-lift helicopters.
The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an American twin-engined, tandem rotor, heavy-lift helicopter developed by American rotorcraft company Vertol and manufactured by Boeing Vertol. The CH-47 is among the heaviest lifting of Western helicopters. Its name, Chinook, is from the Native American Chinook people of Washington state. In air assault operations, it often serves as the principal mover of the 155 mm M198 howitzer, accompanying 30 rounds of ammunition, and an 11-man crew. The CH-47D shares the same airframe as earlier models, the main difference being the adoption of more powerful engines.
Early CH-47Ds were originally powered by two T55-L-712 engines, the most common engine is the later T55-GA-714A. With its triple-hook cargo system, the CH-47D can carry heavy payloads internally and up to 26,000 lb (12,000 kg) (such as 40-foot or 12-metre containers) externally. It was first introduced into service in 1979. The CH-47D also has advanced avionics, such as the Global Positioning System. Nearly all US Army CH-47D were conversions from previous A, B, and C models, a total of 472 being converted. The last U.S. Army CH-47D built was delivered to the U.S. Army Reserve, located at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2002.