The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has received into service the last of 15 Boeing CH-47F (CH-147F in Canadian service) Chinook medium/heavy-lift transport helicopters, the company announced on 30 June.
Now with the RCAF, this helicopter will join the 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Petawawa, near Ottawa.
Canada first ordered its Chinooks in 2009 and, despite delays in the commencement of deliveries in June 2013 due to an overly ambitious operational concept for the aircraft, has received its 15 helicopters within the 12 month delivery schedule.
The RCAF's Chinooks are among the most advanced F-model helicopters currently in service, in that they feature a modernised airframe with a long-range fuel system, upgraded electrical system, fully integrated common avionics architecture system cockpit, and digital automatic flight control system. The aircraft also has improved survivability features including a directional infrared countermeasures system.
The CH-147F helicopters will bridge Canada's heavy-lift helicopter capability that was lost in 2011 with the retirement of six surplus US Army CH-47D Chinooks that the RCAF had procured in 2008 for use in Afghanistan. Prior to receiving these surplus Chinooks, the RCAF had operated eight CH-47C helicopters since 1974, before selling them on to the Netherlands in 1991.
Even though deliveries of the latest model CH-47F are still ongoing to customers, Boeing is already looking at future enhancements to the Chinook. The most near-term improvement will see the helicopter's airframe strengthened to accommodate more powerful engines in the 2020 to 2025 timeframe (to afford 4,000lb additional lift capacity). Beyond that, the company sees at least two more major technological insertions (nominally called the CH-47G and CH-47H) before the US Army introduces the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) - Heavy platform in 2062.