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South Korea to acquire CH-47F Chinooks

South Korea is seeking to acquire Boeing CH-47F Chinooks. The helicopters have improved capabilities compared with the CH-47Ds, which are in service with the RoK Armed Forces. (US Army photo/Sgt Sarah D Sangster)

South Korea is proceeding with plans to replace its fleet of ageing Boeing CH-47D Chinooks serving with the Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces with a newer variant of the aircraft.

In a statement to Janes, South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said that the “CH-47F is being considered for purchase”. The acquisition will be made for Seoul's Heavy Utility Helicopter-II (HUH-II) project.

Janes has learnt that the Defense Project Promotion Committee (DPPC) finalised the KRW1.4 trillion (USD1.06 billion) project on 15 July to procure 18 CH-47Fs for the South Korean army. According to Janes data, the army operates 37 CH-47Ds. The first batch of aircraft was acquired in 1988.

According to DAPA, the new helicopters will be acquired between 2022 and 2028.

The DPPC had originally approved a proposal to replace the CH-47Ds in the South Korean military service in January 2022. However, a meeting by the committee on 15 July amended the purchase plan. This adjusted the purchase method.

DAPA specified that initial approval of the project in January had drawn the interest of the United States government (USG) and two private companies, Lockheed Martin and Leonardo.

“After two rounds of the bidding announcements, the two companies abandoned the bidding,” DAPA told Janes. “For this reason, DAPA has changed its purchase plan from ‘a competition between FMS [Foreign Military Sales] and DCS [Direct Commercial Sale]' to FMS only.”

“At the current stage … only the USG has expressed its intent to participate in the programme,” DAPA added.

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