Boe­ing re­ceives US Army con­tract for up to 215 Chi­nook helicopters


In an agree­ment that will save the US Govern­ment more than $800 mil­lion, the US Army and Boe­ing have signed a $4 bil­lion multi-year con­tract for 177 CH-47F Chi­nook helicopters, with the Army hold­ing op­tions that could in­crease its to­tal buy to 215 air­craft. De­liv­er­ies from the agree­ment, which is a cost-ef­fec­tive al­ter­na­tive to an­nu­ally con­tract­ing for the air­craft, be­gin in 2015.

“This multi-year con­tract pro­vides un­prece­dented sav­ings for the US Army and Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers,” said Colonel Robert Bar­rie, US Army pro­ject man­ager for Cargo Helicopters. “But the most im­por­tant ben­e­fit is the con­tin­ued sup­port th­ese air­craft will pro­vide to soldiers in the field and civil­ians in dis­tress.”

The tan­dem-ro­tor Chi­nook is the back­bone of com­bat, lo­gis­tics and hu­man­i­tar­ian op­er­a­tions for the US Army and 18 other op­er­a­tors around the world. This or­der would even­tu­ally bring the Army’s CH-47F to­tal pro­cure­ment close to its tar­get of 464 air­craft, in­clud­ing 24 to re­place peace­time at­tri­tion air­craft. The Army’s cur­rent in­ven­tory stands at 241 F-model air­craft.

There are 15 Army ac­tive duty and National Guard units op­er­at­ing the CH-47F, and a 16th is cur­rently be­ing equipped. CH-47F units have logged more than 86,000 com­bat hours in Afghanistan, main­tain­ing an op­er­a­tional readi­ness rate of over 80 per cent while con­duct­ing air as­sault, trans­port, and med­i­cal evac­u­a­tion and sup­port mis­sions.

“The Army is ben­e­fit­ting not only from the ef­fi­cien­cies of a multi-year con­tract but also from the pro­duc­tion ef­fi­ciency gains Boe­ing and our sup­pli­ers have made,” said Chuck Dabundo, Vice Pres­i­dent, Boe­ing Cargo He­li­copter Pro­grammes. “That in­cludes the $130 mil­lion in­vest­ment we made to mod­ernise the Chi­nook fac­tory. This con­tract will en­able Boe­ing and our part­ners and sup­pli­ers in 45 states to bring sta­bil­ity to the work­force and to in­vest in pro­duc­tion tool­ing, pro­cesses and other cap­i­tal im­prove­ments.”

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