Boeing, December 18, 2009 - LONDON -- Boeing Defence UK Ltd., a subsidiary of The Boeing Company, today confirmed the Nov. 30 delivery of the first converted Chinook Mk3 helicopter to the Royal Air Force (RAF).
Following the early delivery, the RAF declared Initial Operational Capability for Chinook Mk3, enabling the aircraft to begin supporting operational needs in locations such as Afghanistan.
A team led by Boeing's UK Rotorcraft Support business converted the aircraft to a cockpit standard coherent with the rest of the UK Chinook fleet and also installed several modifications to increase the aircraft's capability.
"This is a welcome addition to the fleet," said Group Capt. Steve Shell, RAF Chinook Force Commander, who took delivery of the aircraft. "The Mk3s will help strengthen our current fleet support both at home and abroad."
A total of eight UK Chinooks will be converted to the fleet standard -- the remaining seven are on schedule for delivery this month and in 2010.
"These Chinook Mk3 helicopters will significantly increase the RAF's heavy-lift capability and help support demanding operational needs in Afghanistan," said David Pitchforth, managing director, Boeing UK Rotorcraft Support. "This conversion is a team effort empowered by the RAF and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) working together with industry prime contractors Boeing and AgustaWestland, and supported by key supply chain partners QinetiQ and GE Aviation Systems."
The Boeing-led industrial alliance completed the Mk3 conversion at the MOD's Boscombe Down facility.
In a concurrent effort to the Mk3 conversion, Boeing, with key supplier Vector Aerospace and in cooperation with the MOD, has increased the availability of the current forward Chinook fleet in Afghanistan. This has been achieved through improvements to the UK Chinook Through Life Customer Support (TLCS) contract. The eight Chinook Mk3s will be added to the TLCS program.
"Current operations in Afghanistan are reliant on the Chinook fleet as the backbone of tactical mobility," said Mike Kurth, managing director, Boeing Defence UK. "Delivery of the Mk3s will increase that capability and provide additional aircraft in theater."
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company and a business unit of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, Boeing Defence UK Ltd. currently has employees at 20 locations throughout the UK supporting Ministry of Defence and U.S. military programs. UK Rotorcraft Support, a division of Boeing's Global Services & Support business, is focused on providing increased capability to the UK's rotorcraft fleet.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.