Two is always better, as is the case with these Dutch CH-47F Chinooks. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

US approval for 17 more Dutch Chinooks

The US State Department has approved a possible sale of 17 Boeing CH-47F Chinooks plus associated equipment and training to the Netherlands, as announced on Monday 23 March. Costs are estimated to be just over 1 billion USD. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified US Congress of this Foreign Military Sale (FMS).

The Netherlands requested a possible sale of 17 CH-47F heavy transport helos on top of 17 Chinooks already in use with the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF). The sale also includes 46 T55-GA-714A engines (34 installed and 12 spares), additional Global Positioning Systems, radio and Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponders, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, plus personnel training.

According to the DSCA, the proposed sale of CH-47F aircraft will improve the Dutch capability to meet current and future requirements for troop movement, medical evacuation, parachute drop, search and rescue, disaster relief and fire-fighting.

The RNLAF has been a Chinook user since the mid-nineties, when the first of a number of CH-47Ds arrived. These D-models involved both seven former Canadian aircraft, plus six new built helicopters. Two were lost in accidents, leaving 11 D-models in service.

More recently, the Dutch also took delivery of six new built CH-47F models, four of which remain in the US for training purposes. The rest of the Dutch Chinooks find their home at Gilze Rijen airbase in the Netherlands, the RNLAF helicopter hub.

The purchase of 17 more Chinooks would mean a significantly enlargement of the RNLAF helicopter fleet, which apart from Chinooks consists of Boeing AH-64D Apache attack helicopers and Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter) AS532 Cougar helos. A small number of Alouette III light transport choppers is due to be retired soon.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: More is always better than one, as is the case with these Dutch CH-47F Chinooks. (Image © Dennis Spronk)