Australia has formally signed a contract to purchase seven Boeing CH-47F Chinooks.

Worth A$514 million ($467 million), the deal also includes the purchase of spare parts and two simulators, says Australian minister for defence personnel, materiel and science Greg Combet. Australia's Defence Materiel Organisation signed the contract in Washington DC on 19 March.

The new aircraft will enter service with the Australian Army, with the first two to be available in 2014 and all seven in use by 2017. They will replace the army's current six D-model Chinooks, Combet says.

© Boeing
Australian army CH-47Fs will be largely common with US-operated Chinooks

The DoD says its new transports will be in a common configuration with the US Army's CH-47Fs, but will "incorporate some minor Australian specific mission equipment enhancements, including crashworthy crew and passenger seating, Miniguns and underfloor ballistic protection."

Source: Flight International