A pair of additional Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift tactical transport helicopters have been delivered to the Australian Army Aviation Corps (AAAC).
Both of the helicopters arrived at the home of the 5th Aviation Regiment at RAAF Base Townsville in Queensland on July 7, after being airfreighted in from the US. The two new CH-47Fs were delivered to Australia aboard a US Air Force (USAF)-operated Lockheed Martin C-5M Super Galaxy – serial 85-0004 – from the 436th Airlift Wing’s 9th Airlift Squadron ‘Pelicans’ at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
These two Chinooks are the first of four to be acquired by Australia as the nation seeks to boost the AAAC’s fleet from ten to 14 examples through an AU$595m investment. The third and fourth aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in mid-2022.
All four helicopters have been taken from the US Army’s inventory, but their former US serials have yet to be confirmed. It is assumed they will take up the Australian serials A15-311 to A15-314, following on from the AAAC’s ten existing CH-47Fs, which are serialled A15-301 to A15-310.
Australia’s newly appointed Minister for Defence, Peter Dutton – who took over the role in March 2021 – welcomed the arrival of the helicopters to the AAAC’s 5th Aviation Regiment. He said: “The additional helicopters will strengthen [the] Army’s airlift capability into the future and increase the [Australian Defence Force’s (ADF’s)] ability to support operations globally. The Chinook is Defence’s largest helicopter, with a long and proven track record of supporting ADF operations in Australia, our near region and further afield.”
The arrival of the two new Chinooks came approximately three months after the sale had been given the go-ahead by the US government. A US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announcement on April 29, 2021, confirmed that the US State Department had approved the acquisition of the helicopters, with customer unique modifications, under the Foreign Military Sales process.