Boeing has received a contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to continue the provision of in-service support for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.
Under the terms of £420m contract, the company will continue through life customer support (TLCS) for the RAF’s fleet. The task force is expected to have 60 helicopters by early 2017 and includes the new Mark 6 variant.
The Chinook fleet will be maintained in Fleetlands, Gosport, while other technical support will be provided from RAF Odiham and sites across the UK, over the next five years.
UK Prime Minister David Cameroon said: "The Chinook support contract represents significant value for money for what is a very capable and versatile support helicopter, protecting UK interests at home and abroad.
"This will sustain 450 jobs and save the taxpayer more than £150m.
"As part of our long-term economic plan, we are making major defence investments in areas like Portsmouth, and today’s announcements demonstrate our commitment to this great city and region."
Boeing Defence UK managing director David Pitchforth said: "BDUK has delivered aircraft availability that’s 10% above the requirement, and has driven serviceability to an all-time high."
The Chinook helicopters are manufactured by Boeing. They are used for trooping, resupply, and battlefield casualty evacuation, as well as for carrying internal and/or underslung loads.
Chinook is claimed to be the UK’s only military heavy lift helicopter. It can transport up to 54 soldiers or 10t of supplies, and was involved in fighting in the Falklands War, peace-keeping missions in the Balkans, as well as combat missions in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Image: The UK Royal Air Force Chinook helicopters in flight. Photo: courtesy of Crown copyright.