Boeing looks abroad for CH-47 sales

Washington DC
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Boeing is looking to international customers to sell the CH-47F Chinook, including remanufacturing existing D models.

The company, speaking with reporters on 28 August, listed several nations as interested parties, mainly in the Middle East region. An important factor for many international customers is commonality with the US Army, which by far has the largest CH-47 fleet and is generally a major ally to existing customers. The USA currently operates more than 250 F-models and recently signed a contract for 155 more, in addition to options.

Boeing's Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based production line has production booked through 2019. The company also has enough sales campaigns that, if brought to fruition, would allow for production through 2023. As the USA is expected to operate the aircraft through 2050, it is likely that more work is pending for the future.

"My personal opinion is in 2060 we'll have a 100-year airplane. There will be an F-model out here today flying," says Mark Ballew, the programme's director of business development.

Nations listed as likely customers are Saudi Arabia - which Boeing is campaigning to buy 24 CH-47s - Morocco (3), Qatar (8) and Turkey (8). The company also hopes to sell remanufacturing services for older aircraft to the Netherlands (8), Singapore (10) and the US Special Operations Command (68). Although this has not been listed, interest has been received from Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Thailand, Egypt and Libya.

Deliveries for existing orders are ongoing in Canada and the UK. So far, three have been delivered to both customers out of their 15-strong orders. Deliveries to Turkey are scheduled to begin in 2015.

An additional seven MH-47Gs are on "handshake" contract with the US Special Operations, with a formal contract signing expected at the end of September.

The F-models being delivered to Canada are the first with a substantial upgrade of the electrical and avionics systems. The electrical system has been wholly revamped, to include two 60kV generators and an upgraded auxiliary power unit. An L-3/Wescam electro-optical/infrared ball turret has been added, as has the digital advanced flight control system to allow precision control. The revamped system also includes the common avionics architecture system.