The US Army and Boeing have signed a $4 billion multi-year contract for 177 CH-47F Chinook helicopters, in a deal that is expected to save the US government more than $800 million, the company says. But the total number of Chinooks built as part of the contract could rise to as many as 215, if the service exercises all of its options.

"This multi-year contract provides unprecedented savings for the US Army and American taxpayers," says Col Robert Barrie, the army's project manager for cargo helicopters.

The army has 241 F-model aircraft, and the new multi-year deal would eventually bring the CH-47F fleet total close to its goal of a 464-strong inventory. That figure includes an additional 24 Chinooks to replace "peacetime attrition" aircraft.

"The army is benefiting not only from the efficiencies of a multi-year contract, but also from the production efficiency gains Boeing and our suppliers have made," says Chuck Dabundo, Boeing's vice-president for cargo helicopter programmes.

Deliveries from this multi-year contract will begin in 2015, Boeing says.

A multi-year contract for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor is anticipated later this month.

Source: Flight International