The Dutch defence ministry is to acquire 14 new Boeing CH-47F transport helicopters, in an expansion of its existing rotorcraft capabilities.
Recognising the Chinook’s importance in missions such as deploying quick reaction forces and humanitarian assistance, the Dutch air force has decided to retire its 10 ageing CH-47Ds – which were delivered from 1995 – and upgrade its existing six F-model examples, which entered use from 2013.
The defence ministry initially explored the option of acquiring the new aircraft in its preferred CH-47F (NL) configuration, but the budget for this exceeded the available funds. As a result, it will buy the US Army’s F-model Chinook during the service’s second multi-year procurement phase, with aircraft to be in the common avionics architecture system standard. It intends to sign a letter of offer and acceptance during December, with the procurement to be completed via Washington’s Foreign Military Sales framework.
Following their delivery from 2019, the Dutch aircraft will receive some modifications in the USA to meet the nation’s operational demands and certification standards. These will include installing crash-protected seats in the cockpit and cabin, and a VHF radio to enable secure communications with ground forces. Self-protection and icing detection equipment, a fast rope insertion and extraction system and an emergency locator transmitter will also be provided, along with a piloting function for its forward-looking infrared system.
The Netherlands’ total budget for the acquisition is €915 million ($1 billion), which also includes the cost of modernising the current six CH-47Fs to the same standard.