PICTURES: Dutch take delivery of first F-model Chinooks

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The Netherlands' first two Boeing CH-47F transport helicopters were delivered to its Defence Helicopter Command at Gilze-Rijen air base on 8 October.

Accepted by Royal Netherlands Air Force commander Lt Gen Sander Schnitger, the pair are drawn from a six-unit order which will increase the nation's Chinook fleet to 17 aircraft, with 11 D-model examples already in use.

 

Bob Fischer

Three CH-47Fs will be flown by 298 Sqn from Gilze-Rijen, with the other three to be permanently based at the US Army's Fort Hood site in Texas for training purposes.

The Netherlands' new variant features a glass cockpit with multifunction displays (below) and a chin-mounted forward-looking infrared camera, with the latter to support operations in almost total darkness.

 

Joris van Boven/Sentry Aviation News

The aircraft also has five fast-rope positions for use by special forces personnel, while pod-housed self-protection equipment can be added at several points on its fuselage.

According to the air force, 85% of the cockpit environment will look familiar to a CH-47D pilot.

"As a commander you want one thing: that your personnel will go on a mission very well trained with the best equipment," Schnitger says.

 

Joris van Boven/Sentry Aviation News

The Netherlands' first two F-model Chinooks were handed over at Gilze-Rijen air base

Dutch acceptance of the first F-model aircraft brings to an end a lengthy programme delay, with the type originally due to have entered use in 2009.