The final two of 14 Boeing CH-47F Chinooks heavy lift helicopters for the Australian Army have been delivered to RAAF Base Townsville.
The two machines were delivered less than a year after a contract for four aircraft was signed with the US Army. These two and the first two machines were drawn from US Army production slots in order to expedite their introduction in the wake of the RAAF’s Leonardo C-27J Spartan being relegated to the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), and Pacific support roles.
“The Australian Government is demonstrating its commitment to bolstering Defence’s ability to prepare our ADF to be future ready,” Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy said in a 23 June statement. “The Chinook is Defence’s largest helicopter, which has been instrumental in recent missions including Operation Bushfire Assist in 2019-20, Operation Tonga Assist in 2022 and Operation Queensland/New South Wales Flood Assist in 2022.
“The helicopters will provide Defence with additional lift capacity and strengthen Army’s ability to support operations globally,” he added. “We thank our United States counterparts, including the United States Army, for their support in this rapid acquisition.”
Seven CH-47Fs and two simulators were ordered in March 2012 to replace the CH-47D model in Australian Army service, and the first ‘Foxtrot’ arrived in Australia in May 2015. An additional three CH-47Fs were ordered in February 2016 to bring the fleet to 10, and these were delivered in June of that year. In April 2021 the Commonwealth announced it would acquire an additional four CH-47Fs, and the first two were delivered to Townsville by a USAF C-5M less than two months later.
All 14 Chinooks are in service with C Squadron, 5 Aviation Regiment (5Avn) at Townsville.