The Royal Air Force (RAF) agreed to purchase 14 new Chinook helicopters from Boeing in a $578 million transaction. The country will be the first outside the United States to operate the Chinook Block II, with deliveries scheduled for 2026.
The upgraded version of the Chinook, a classic helicopter with tandem rotors, offers a range similar to the MH-47G, a variant purchased by the US Army.
According to Boeing, the new version has received enhancements such as advanced rotor blades, redesigned fuel tanks, a reinforced fuselage and an improved transmission system that increases rotor torque by 9%.
The manufacturer also replaced the six fuel tank compartments with just two, which are capable of carrying a larger volume. Because of these improvements, the Chinook Block II can carry almost a ton more weight.
“These Chinooks are the future of heavy-lift, built on an existing foundation of advanced capability and life cycle affordability,” said Andy Builta, Boeing vice president and H-47 program manager. “This contract for Block II aircraft sets the stage for the next 60 years of Chinook excellence on the battlefield.”
On September 21, the Boeing helicopter, which was designed by the Vertol company, will complete 60 years of its inaugural flight. The aircraft entered service in the US armed forces in 1962 and participated in several conflicts such as the Vietnam War and the Falklands War, as part of the United Kingdom military forces in this case.
In November 2020, the country celebrated the 40th anniversary of the delivery of the first Chinook to the Royal Air Force. Currently, the UK operates around 55 helicopters of the type, of various versions.