Boeing has delivered the last of 14 new-build CH-47 Chinook HC6 helicopters to the UK's Royal Air Force, taking the service’s total inventory of the heavy-lift type to 60.
Based at RAF Odiham in the south of England, the UK’s Chinook force also includes the HC3 and HC4 variants, with the former in the process of being raised to the HC5 standard via the Project Julius upgrade programme.
This adds a common digital cockpit to the existing fleet – the 38 examples of the HC4 having already been converted from the HC2 – identical to those on the newly-delivered helicopters.
In addition, the 46-strong fleet of older variants is gaining a separate modification that adds a Digital Automatic Flight Control System, identical to that on the HC6.
Work on the upgrade is due to be completed by 2018.
“These new Mark 6 helicopters will significantly enhance our existing heavy-lift helicopter and special forces capability,” says Air Vice-Marshal Julian Young, director of helicopters at the UK’s Defence Equipment & Support procurement body.
“Our overall fleet of 60 Chinooks will support our frontline troops in current and future operations for decades to come.”