Defence has purchased four extra CH-47 Chinooks from the US for $595 million.
Two of the Chinooks have already arrived in Townsville aboard a US Air Force C-5 Galaxy. The third and fourth Chinooks are expected to arrive in Australia in mid-2022.
The sale was approved three months ago, as reported by ADM following approval by the US State Department through an FMS process.
"The Chinook is Defence’s largest helicopter, with a long and proven track record of supporting ADF operations in Australia, our near region and further afield," Defence Minister Peter Dutton said.
The delivery comes as the ADF's MRH-90 helicopter fleet is grounded due to 'maintenance issues.'
As ADM Deputy Editor Nigel Pittaway recently reported, the heart of the issue is actually the computerised maintenance system (CAMM2) used by Army, which is incapable of keeping track of the total number of hours each component has logged when it is moved from one tail number to another. This situation has been recently exacerbated by a shortage of spares, due to a less-than-optimum stockholding in the first place and a slower than promised repair turnaround time by the original equipment manufacturer.
However, ADM further understands the vast majority of components treated in this manner are not critical to the safety of flight, and that the issues stemming from CAMM2 presumably apply to multiple aviation platforms in Defence.
Boeing appreciates the Commonwealth of Australia’s decision to acquire additional H-47 Chinooks,” Dale McDowall, Director Global Sales & Marketing, Boeing Defense, Space & Security Australia and New Zealand stated.
Boeing is also under contract with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) for maintenance of their CH-47F aircraft at Oakey Detachment.
The RSAF recently presented BDA with the Interim Approved Maintenance Organisation certificate which signifies that BDA is authorised to provide maintenance functions and logistics support services for the RSAF’s CH-47F aircraft.
When the two aircraft under the new order arrive next year, Boeing will be responsible for the sustainment of up to 24 Chinook aircraft in Australia across both operators.