The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of four Boeing CH-47F Chinooks and related equipment to the Australian government for an estimated cost of US$259m.
The approval was announced on April 29 by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which delivered the required certification notifying the US Congress of this possible sale on the same day. Congress has 30 days to raise any objections to the deal, otherwise it is deemed by law to have given its approval.
Australia has requested to purchase four CH-47F heavy-lift tactical transport helicopters with customer-unique modifications. The nation has also requested eight Lycoming T55-GA-714A turboshaft engines; five AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS); eight embedded global positioning system/inertial navigation systems (EGIs); and two EAGLE+429 EGIs.
Also included in the proposed deal is associated mission equipment; communication and navigation equipment; spare parts and components; special tools and test equipment; publications and technical manuals; US government and contractor engineering, maintenance, technical and logistics support services; plus, other related elements of programme and logistical support.
The DSCA said: “The proposed sale of this equipment and support will improve Australia’s capability to meet current and future threats, increase operational capabilities, strengthen its homeland defence and promote military cooperation.”
The agency added that these aircraft will be provided from the US Army’s current stock. At present, the Australian Army Aviation Corps operates ten CH-47Fs – all of which are operated by the 5th Aviation Regiment’s C Squadron, based at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Townsville in Queensland.