Royal Netherlands Air Force Received Its First Boeing CH-47F Chinook Heavy-lift Helicopter
The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) has taken delivery of a newly upgraded CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopter, the first of 20 under the country’s Multiyear II (MYII) Common Avionics Architecture Systems (CAAS) programme. The 298th Defense Helicopter Command Squadron welcomed its first Chinook to the Gilze-Rijen base in a small ceremony with the presence of Secretary of State for Defense Barbara Visser. As for the 6 CH-47Fs, it was decided to modernize them through a special program in order to have a standard capacity of 20 helicopters.
On September 7, 2015, Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert announced the replacement of the 11 CH-47Ds with 14 new CH-47F MYII CAAS (Common Avionics Architecture System, the standard version of the US Army) type aircraft. The 20 CH-47F Chinooks will be a fleet equipped with the same technology as the US Army, including digital automatic flight controls, a fully-integrated Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) glass cockpit, and advanced cargo handling capabilities. The common configuration leads to lower overall life cycle costs.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force currently flies a mix of F-model Chinooks with the Advanced Cockpit Management System (ACMS) and CH-47D Chinooks. The CH-47F’s common cockpit enables multiservice digital compatibility and interoperability for improved situational awareness, mission performance, and survivability, as well as future growth potential. The CH-47F has an empty weight of 24,578 pounds and a maximum gross weight of 50,000 pounds. The CH-47F can lift intra-theater payloads up to 16,000 pounds in high/hot environments.
Boeing has been awarded a contract modification to provide the Netherlands with a further two CH-47F Chinook helicopters, in addition to the 12 contracted in 2016. The modification was announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 28 April, and should see all 14 helicopters delivered to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) by 31 December 2020. The RNLAF already fields 11 CH-47D helicopters that it first received in 1995, and six CH-47F helicopters that began arriving in 2012.
The service will field 20 CH-47Fs in total, enabling the service to replace its older CH-47Ds.