THE ROYAL Netherlands Air Force has taken delivery of the first two of 13 Boeing CH-47D Chinooks destined for use by 298 Sqn at the Soesterberg air base.

The first seven helicopters are former Canadian air force CH-47Cs updated to the "D" standard. The Netherlands version is to be equipped with a Honeywell full glass-cockpit with systems such as a flight-management system and electronic flight-instrumentation system.

The other five ex-Canadian Chinooks will be operational by the middle of the year, and the remaining six new helicopters will be delivered in 1998-9. The deal is valued at DFl 880 million ($543 million).

Delivery of the first Chinooks heralds the start of a major revamping of Netherlands helicopter capabilities. Delivery to 300 Sqn, also at Soesterberg, of the first of 17 Eurocopter Cougar Mk2s will take place in May. The Chinooks and Cougars are tasked primarily to support the Netherlands Air Mobile Brigade, allowing Aerospatiale Alouette IIIs to be phased out. Later in the decade, the service will start to take delivery of 30 McDonnell Douglas NAH-64D attack helicopters.

The Air Force has taken delivery of a used Gulfstream GIII to start replacing three VIP Fokker F27s.

Source: Flight International