Boeing has signed an agreement with the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) to upgrade six CH-47F Chinook helicopters to the latest standard.
Under the agreement, which was announced by the manufacturer on 14 December, the six modernised helicopters will be delivered back to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) from 2021.
The RNLAF is bringing its fleet up to a common standard for affordability and interoperability reasons. As noted by Boeing, a key feature of the work includes integrating the Common Avionics Architecture System cockpit with an integrated Digital Automatic Flight Control System. As well as providing for a common fleet across the RNLAF, it will also align the service with the US Army and other allies.
The Netherlands currently fields 11 CH-47D helicopters that it first received in 1995, and six CH-47F helicopters that began arriving in 2012 (the Netherlands was the first export customer for this latest variant). In 2016, the country acquired 12 new-build CH-47F Chinooks through the US Department of Defense Foreign Military Sales programme, and two further helicopters were added to the order the following year.
With the CH-47Ds due to be retired, the six upgraded CH-47Fs will serve alongside the 14 new-build CH-47Fs to give the RNLAF a fleet of 20 commonly configured Chinooks to be used for troop movement, medical evacuation, aircraft recovery, parachute drop, search and rescue, disaster relief, firefighting, and heavy construction support.
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