First two CH-47F Chinook helicopters for the Netherlands
12 Oct 2012
On October 8, 2012, the first two new Boeing CH-47F Chinook transport helicopters were handed over to the Netherlands' Defence Helicopter Command (DHC) at Gilze-Rijen Air Base. Six CH-47F were ordered in February 2007 following the loss of two CH-47D aircraft in Afghanistan operations and the decision to expand the Chinook fleet.
The two CH-47F are joining the existing CH-47D Chinook fleet of the Royal Netherlands Air Force 298 Squadron today, having received in-country modifications at Woensdrecht AB logistics hub following their arrival in August 2012. Meanwhile the Joint Netherlands Training Detachment at Fort Hood, Texas, has also received two CH-47Fs. The final two aircraft of the order are expected to be delivered soon; one for Fort Hood in September and one for Gilze-Rijen in early 2013.
The Boeing CH-47F is the latest variant of the Chinook, with improved airframe, new Honeywell engines, and modern avionics suite including the Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit, and BAE Systems' Digital Advanced Flight Control System (DAFCS). The Dutch CH-47F painted in overall grey are fitted with FLIR turret, five fastrope positions and defensive aids systems, although the full special operations kit as proposed five years ago had been cancelled for budgetory reasons. Likewise the option for three additional aircraft was not exercised. Originally planned for 2009-2010, software and other development issues had caused several delays.
The addition of six CH-47F brings the Dutch fleet to a total of 17 Chinooks. The Netherlands' ambition is to replace the remaining 11 CH-47D Chinook helicopters with an equal number of new-build CH-47F.