Having operated the CH-47D variant of the Chinook family since 1995, the Netherlands agreed to buy 14 new-build CH-47Fs via the US State Department's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme in 2016. In addition to 14 brand-new Chinooks, the Dutch government decided to upgrade its six remaining CH-47Ds to the more modern F-model in 2017, meaning all 20 of the fleet will be the latest version of the heavy-lift tactical transport helicopter.
Deliveries of the new F-model Chinooks commenced in April 2020 and the D-model was withdrawn from operations in late 2021 after 25 years of service. This final CH-47F concludes the whole upgrade programme for the RNLAF Chinook Force.
The CH-47F comes with a fully integrated digital glass cockpit management system and more advanced cargo-handling capabilities to the D-model. LTC Wil van Rijn, the senior system integrator for the Chinook with the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MOD), said: “This is a milestone for us. We have newer radios and newer equipment which help our pilots operate better in different environments than we do already.”
The Netherlands is one of eight NATO countries that operate the CH-47 Chinook and were the first export customer to agree the procurement of the latest CH-47F variant. Ken Eland, vice president and H-47 programme manager at Boeing, said: “Our continuing partnership with the RNLAF exemplifies the value of a modern and versatile Chinook fleet. These state-of-the art aircraft will significantly improve their defence and humanitarian assistance capabilities.”