First Ital­ian Army ICH-47F Chi­nook’s maiden flight

SP's MAI - - AEROSPACE -

Agus­taWest­land an­nounced that the first ICH-47F Chi­nook for the Ital­ian Army suc­cess­fully ac­com­plished its maiden flight on June 24 at Ver­giate in Italy. The air­craft took to the air for 15 min­utes, per­form­ing as ex­pected whilst car­ry­ing out ba­sic han­dling tests and main sys­tems checks.

This ICH-47F Chi­nook is the first of an or­der for 16 units plus four op­tions placed by the Ital­ian Min­istry of De­fence pro­cure­ment agency ARMAEREO. The con­tract also in­cludes a five-year lo­gis­tic sup­port ser­vice. The de­liv­ery of the first air­craft is planned in early 2014 with fi­nal de­liv­er­ies in 2017.

The ICH-47Fs will be op­er­ated by the Ital­ian Army Avi­a­tion 1st Reg­i­ment “Antares” and they will re­place the 40 CH-47C Chi­nooks that have been in ser­vice since 1973.

Un­der a joint in­dus­trial agree­ment with Boe­ing, Agus­taWest­land is prime con­trac­tor for the Ital­ian ICH-47F pro­gramme, with re­spon­si­bil­ity for sys­tems in­te­gra­tion, fi­nal assem­bly and air­craft de­liv­ery to the Ital­ian Army. In ad­di­tion Agus­taWest­land is also be­ing qual­i­fied by Boe­ing to pro­duce the en­tire drive sys­tems.

Boe­ing Ro­tor­craft Sys­tems builds the fuse­lage at its Ridley Park, Penn­syl­va­nia, fa­cil­ity in the United States whilst fi­nal assem­bly is car­ried out at Agus­taWest­land’s Ver­giate plant in north­ern Italy.

Alessan­dro Par­rini, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent Ital­ian Govern­ment Busi­ness Unit, Agus­taWest­land said: “This is an ex­cit­ing mo­ment for us and our cus­tomer. The Ital­ian Army will soon fly the lat­est vari­ant of the proven heavy-lift plat­form that will give it new ca­pa­bil­i­ties. This maiden flight con­firms that the strate­gic part­ner­ship be­tween the com­pany and the ser­vice is pro­vid­ing a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the mod­erni­sa­tion of the Ital­ian Army he­li­copter fleet.”

The ICH-47F cus­tomised ver­sion in­cor­po­rates a se­cure com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tem, self-pro­tec­tion sys­tem and ad­vanced datalink sys­tem. This new ICH-47F Chi­nook vari­ant has a max­i­mum all up weight (MAUW) of 23 tonnes, is equipped with two Honey­well T55-GA-714A en­gines giv­ing it ex­cel­lent “hot and high” ca­pa­bil­ity and is suit­able for all-weather op­er­a­tions.

The Joint In­dus­trial Agree­ment be­tween Agus­taWest­land and Boe­ing also in­cludes a li­cens­ing ar­range­ment that en­ables Agus­taWest­land to mar­ket, sell and pro­duce th­ese “Chi­nooks” for other coun­tries.

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