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UK recommits to new Chinooks, following review

The UK is to get 14 new CH-47 Chinook ER helicopters, which will be similar in appearance to the ‘fat tank' Chinook HC5 variant (pictured) already in RAF service. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The UK has recommitted to its previously announced plan to buy new Boeing Chinooks, with the Secretary of State for Defence, Grant Shapps, announcing a buy of 14 helicopters on 14 March.

Speaking during a visit to British forces exercising in Poland, Shapps reiterated the plan to buy the new CH-47 Chinook Extended Range (ER) helicopters, which had been subject to a Ministry of Defence (MoD) review on cost grounds.

“Through successful negotiations between [the] MoD's procurement arm – Defence Equipment & Support – and the US government, the UK has reduced costs for elements of the programme by more than GBP300 million [USD383 million], ensuring value for money whilst providing our armed forces with a cutting-edge heavy lift capability,” the MoD said. Beyond saying how much has been shaved off the cost of the deal, the ministry did not give a final cost for the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) procurement, which originally had been put at GBP1.4 billion (USD1.8 billion) before rising to a reported GBP2 billion.

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