PICTURES: Newest RAF Chinook makes maiden sortie

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Boeing has released images of the first flight of the newest CH-47 Chinook helicopter destined for the UK Royal Air Force.

The 15 March sortie at the company's Ridley Township, Philadelphia facility took place ahead of schedule, says Boeing, and confirmed the initial airworthiness for the Mk6 Chinook.

 credit - boeing

 Boeing

"This is a truly impressive achievement for both Boeing and the project team," says Capt David Childs, Chinook team leader for the UK's Defence Equipment & Support organisation. "To see the first aircraft fly less than 20 months after contract signature is a source of great pride for all those involved in this key project."

The Mk6 Chinook features advanced technology including UK-specific avionics and a forward-looking infrared system.

 credit - boeing

 Boeing

It will undergo testing in Mesa, Arizona before delivery to the UK later this year.

The RAF has 14 of the heavy-lift helicopters on order.