Netherlands wants to buy 11 new-build CH-47F Chinooks
The Netherlands Ministry of Defence wants to change its Chinook procurement plans and buy 11 new build 'Foxtrot' models.
In a letter to the Netherlands Senate, Defence Minister Hans Hillen is urging that the government to buy new build CH-47Fs to replace its increasingly elderly fleet of CH-47Ds rather than upgrade those aircraft to the 'Foxtrot' model standard.
Currently the Netherlands has six CH-47Fs on order, the first of which flew in January 2011. These aircraft were ordered to supplement the current fleet of 11 CH-47Ds but will mainly support special forces operations.
The plan was to then bring the rest of the fleet up to the CH-47F standard.
Hillen argues that replacing the CH-47Ds with new build aircraft will allow the Netherlands armed forces to fly the type until 2045, while the upgrade only allows them to fly until 2035.
Hillen said: 'This is indeed a higher investment cost than the modification of the current Chinooks, but the difference is more than offset by operational efficiency and cost advantages.'
He also pointed out a reduction in risk associated with the modification programme and that the whole CH-47D fleet would continue to be available to the armed forces, something that would not happen with aircraft in the modification programme.
Hillen told the Senate that the project would cost €250 million and would allow the Ministry of Defence to sell on the existing fleet of CH-47Ds.
The Netherlands armed forces Chinook fleet originally numbered 13, but two losses in Afghanistan have reduced that to the current 11. They consist of seven 1974-vintage CH-47Cs purchased from Canada and upgraded to 'Delta' standard, while the other four aircraft are 1995 vintage CH-47Ds.
Source: By Tony Osborne in London / Shephard News Team - 17 May 2012
Photo: The Netherlands Air Force Boeing CH-47D Chinook (D-106) (Photo by zap16.com)