Fresh delays hit Dutch Chinook, airlift projects

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The Netherlands' acquisition of six Boeing CH-47F Chinook transport helicopters has encountered a six-month delay, with its first aircraft now scheduled for delivery in the last quarter of next year. All should be delivered by mid-2011, with the slippage having been attributed to software problems.

Three aircraft will be operated in the Netherlands, with the remainder to initially be stationed in the USA for training purposes.

Meanwhile, two programmes to expand the Royal Netherlands Air Force's fixed-wing transport fleet have also suffered fresh delays.

An airworthiness certificate has still yet to be secured for a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 being acquired for air transport tasks, after software problems were identified during flight testing.

To join two KDC-10 tankers now in Dutch service, the aircraft had already been delayed until mid-2009, but will now be available in the first half of 2010 in a cargo-only configuration. Work will be conducted next year to investigate the possibility of expanding its role to also carry passengers.

Flight management system software issues and engine mounting problems have also pushed back the planned receipt of two modified ex-US Navy Lockheed Martin C-130Hs until the first quarter of 2010.

The air force's current two C-130Hs will then undergo the same modernisation programme by the UK's Marshall Aerospace.