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​ADEX: Seoul weighs Chinook upgrade options

South Korea is assessing how to move forward with an major upgrade programme for its army’s fleet of Boeing Ch-47D Chinook transport helicopters.

Industry sources at the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Expo 2015 say that Seoul has issued a global request for information for the requirement, which could see 42 obsolescent CH-47Ds receive new engines, new avionics, new cockpits, and a full defensive measures suite.

Honeywell, which produced the current aircraft’s T55-712 engines, is in a strong position for engine upgrade with its T55-714A engine. The US company displayed a model of its engine offering at the show.

It is not clear, however, how Seoul will decide to proceed with the rest of the upgrade programme. Several companies appear to be eyeing work on the project, with Rockwell Collins using the show to promote its Common Avionics Architecture System for the Chinook.

Boeing is also frank in stating its interest in possible Chinook upgrade work.

Speaking with Flightglobal in Boeing’s stand at the show, the company’s director of international business development Timothy Nichols said that Seoul should give serious consideration to upgrading its Chinook fleet to the CH-47F standard of the US Army.

“If you're lined up with the biggest Chinook operator in the world, and they are managing obsolescence and with a huge installed base, you will have an easier time paying for your Chinook fleet over the long haul. Obsolescence is taken care of, and the spare parts are there…what we really want is a chance to compete as prime contractor.”

Flightglobal’s Fleets Analyzer shows that the average age of South Korea’s 42 Chinooks is 31.2 years.

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