Friday, April 12, 2024

UK to buy 14 extended-range Chinook helicopters

The UK Defense Secretary, Grant Shapps, has committed to a deal to acquire 14 new CH-47 heavy-lift helicopters in Extended-Range configuration.

This decision follows negotiations between the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the US Government, facilitated by the MoD’s procurement arm, Defence Equipment & Support.

In a statement released on 14th March, the MoD highlighted the successful outcome of the negotiations, emphasizing a reduction in program costs by over £300 million ($382 million). This cost-saving measure ensures that the UK Armed Forces gain access to a cutting-edge heavy lift capability while maintaining value for money.

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Grant Shapps underscored the significance of the Chinook in the UK’s military operations, noting its iconic status and its participation in major conflicts since the Falklands War. The procurement deal not only enhances military capability but also contributes to the growth of UK industry and skills. The MoD further stated that the agreement would inject £151 million into the UK economy, although specific details were not provided.

Former UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace had previously threatened to withdraw from the deal due to these challenges. However, with Grant Shapps now at the helm, the UK government has committed to fulfilling its procurement obligations.

The CH-47ER Chinook, an Extended Range variant of the renowned US-designed helicopter. With improved size, weight, and power (SWaP) characteristics compared to older versions, the CH-47ER enhances the UK’s ability to conduct a wide range of military operations effectively.

The acquisition of these new Chinook helicopters underscores the UK’s commitment to modernizing its military assets and ensuring readiness to meet evolving security challenges. As geopolitical dynamics continue to evolve, investments in advanced aerial platforms like the CH-47ER play a vital role in maintaining national security and defense capabilities.

The new helicopters will replace the most obsolescent Chinooks in a Royal Air Force fleet that is currently shrinking CH-47 numbers from 60 helicopters to 51. The 14 oldest Chinooks will be retired from the U.K. fleet as the new machines enter service.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is the editor-in-chief of Defence Blog. He is a journalist, an accredited defense advisor, and a consultant. His background as a defense advisor and consultant adds a unique perspective to his journalistic endeavors, ensuring that his reporting is well-informed and authoritative. read more

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