A UK Chinook Mk3 helicopter successfully completed its first test flight on 6 June at MOD Boscombe Down during the flight testing and evaluation phase of the Mk3 reversion programme.
A Boeing-led team in conjunction with key suppliers QinetiQ and GE Aviation Systems Ltd, and in close collaboration with the Royal Air Force (RAF), is reverting eight Mk3s for compatibility with the RAF fleet of 40 Mk2 Chinooks. Once all aspects of the modification and test programme are completed, the eight converted helicopters, which are scheduled for delivery from late 2009 through 2010, will join the rest of the RAF Chinook fleet at RAF Odiham in Hampshire.
?Significantly increasing the heavy-lift capability of the RAF, the additional eight Chinook Mk3 helicopters will help support demanding operational needs in Afghanistan,? said Commander Joint Helicopter Command Rear Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt.
"This programme, which is a team effort empowered by the RAF and key suppliers QinetiQ and GE Aviation Systems, is a wonderful example of working together to achieve an expanded mission-ready fleet," said Jim O'Neill, Vice President of Integrated Logistics for Boeing Global Services and Support. "Getting these aircraft into service will help save lives and support essential missions."
A Chinook helicopter can carry up to 55 troops or 10 tons of freight and be used in a variety of operational roles, including troop transportation and casualty evacuation. They are highly capable and versatile helicopters that cope well with many diverse environments, including the harsh conditions in Afghanistan.