Boeing Defence Australia will continue to support the maintenance, training and sustainment services for Army’s fleet of 14 CH-47F Chinook helicopters following a contract extension signed by Australian Government Department of Defence. Boeing awarded a $41 million contract extension would ensure continued support for the Chinook fleet over the next five years. The extension will see the total contract value increased to $146 million. Australia’s CH-47F Chinook fleet is based in Townsville, with maintenance and sustainment service support provided in Oakey and Brisbane. The contract extension will add an additional 15 ongoing positions and 3 apprenticeship employees for Queensland industry.
“Chinooks have formed a significant component of Australia’s contribution to battlefield aviation capability. The Australian Defence Force has a longstanding history with Chinooks. The platform has a reputation for consistently delivering effective, safe and affordable capability for Defence. The CH-47F Chinook fleet is an important capability for Defence, providing critical lift capability on several domestic and regional operations, including Bushfire Assist in 2020, and Tonga and Flood Assist in 2022,” First Assistant Secretary Joint Aviation System Division, Mr Shane Fairweather said.
This contract follows the arrival of two additional Chinook helicopters in 2022, which joined the Australian Army Aviation Command’s existing 12 CH-47F Chinook medium-lift helicopters operated by C Squadron, 5th Aviation Regiment in Townsville. The Australian Defence Force has operated Boeing CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters for most of the period since 1974. Thirty four of the type have entered Australian service, comprising twelve CH-47C variants, eight CH-47Ds and fourteen CH-47Fs. The helicopters have been operated by both the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Australian Army.
The Chinooks have mainly been used to support the Australian Army, though they have performed a wide range of other tasks. Three Chinooks took part in the Iraq War during 2003, when they transported supplies and Australian special forces. A detachment of two Chinooks was also deployed to Afghanistan during the northern spring and summer months for each year between 2006 and 2007 and 2008 to 2013, seeing extensive combat. Two of the CH-47s deployed to Afghanistan were destroyed in crashes. The helicopters have also frequently been assigned to assist recovery efforts following natural disasters and undertook a range of civilian construction tasks while being operated by the RAAF.