UK MOD Praises Boeing for Partnership on Chinook Helicopter Programme
LONDON, United Kingdom, June 16, 2014 - The UK Ministry of Defence praised Boeing [NYSE: BA] today for close collaboration and partnership that led to the new MK6 Chinook helicopter entering service seven months ahead of schedule.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the release to service of the aircraft at RAF Odiham, Philip Hammond MP, secretary of state for Defence, said: "These state of the art aircraft will provide a significant uplift in helicopter capability operating as a battlefield workhorse of the RAF, supporting the Army on the frontline for decades to come. The 14 new Chinooks will boost our fleet to 60, already the largest in Europe. The new aircraft are part of a £11bn investment to update, replace and support all of the Ministry of Defence’s helicopter capability over the next decade that will sustain truly world-class rotary wing capabilities for the UK Armed Forces.”
The MOD is acquiring 14 Chinook MK6 helicopters to add to its existing fleet of 46 aircraft. The new Chinooks feature a suite of updated systems including a digital Automatic Flight Control System which will provide improved handling qualities and aircraft stability, offering reduced workload for crews. The full fleet of Chinook MK6 should be fully operational by early 2017.
“This is a pathfinder programme for MOD-wide performance-based contracting,” said David Pitchforth, managing director of Boeing Defence UK (BDUK). “As Boeing expands its presence in the UK, our customers benefit from the expertise and support of the entire Boeing enterprise.”
“The MK6 Chinook is one of the most advanced and capable Chinooks in service today,” said Steve Parker, Boeing Cargo Helicopters vice president. “It continues the UK’s long history of Chinook operations and will ensure the MOD is able to safely and efficiently deliver troops and equipment, and support large-scale humanitarian missions, anywhere in the world.”
The existing fleet of 46 aircraft is undergoing modifications by a joint Boeing and industry team to develop a new digital cockpit solution.
The RAF has operated Chinooks since 1980.
Boeing spent more than £1bn ($1.6bn) with UK-based suppliers in 2013 and employs more than 1,700 people in the UK.