Australia plans to buy seven Boeing CH-47F Chinooks from the US government, with the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) saying in a notice to the US Congress that the contract could be worth up to $560 million.
In addition to the helicopters, the deal is likely to include 16 Lycoming T55-GA-714A Turbine engines, seven M134D Dillon Aero mini-guns, 16 ITT AN/ARC-201D Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radios (SINCGARS), and seven Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below Blue Force Trackers (FBCB2/BFT).
Mission equipment, communication and navigation equipment, ground support equipment, spare and repair parts, special tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support will also be part of the contract, says the DSCA.
It adds that Australia is one of the USA's most important allies in the Western Pacific and that the Chinooks will provide it with significantly improved airlift capability.
"Australia's efforts in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Iraq and in Afghanistan have had a significant impact on regional political and economic stability and have served U.S. national security interests. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives and facilitates burden sharing with our allies," says the DSCA.
"This will improve the Royal Australian Army's ability to participate in coalition operations, enhance the capacity of Australia's Defense Forces to provide lift for ground forces and supplies in support of humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, and to contribute to stability operations in the Asia-Pacific region."