Boeing receives $223M contract for Chinook helicopters for Saudi Arabia

The modification to an existing contract is for the delivery of eight new, instead of refurbished, CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to the Royal Saudi Land Forces.

The Boeing Company has received a $222.5 million modification to an existing contract for the delivery of eight CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters to the Royal Saudi Land Forces.

The US Department of Defense announced this week the CH-47Fs to be delivered are new builds, as opposed to refurbished ones, with production taking place in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania. Production is expected to be completed by July 30, 2021.

Saudi Arabia is the largest recipient of U.S. arms sales in the world. The State Department approved the sale of 48 CH-47F Chinooks and associated equipment in a deal worth an estimated $3.5 billion last year.

The Royal Saudi Land Forces deploy a variety of U.S.-built helicopters, including UH-60 Black Hawk medium-lift transport aircraft, AH-64 Apache gunships and the CH-47, among others.

The CH-47F Chinook is a twin-engine tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter used by the U.S. Army, Saudi Arabia, and many other allied nations including Turkey in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

The workhorse helicopter is said to be a staple in Afghanistan, where the rugged terrain makes ferrying troops and supplies on the ground tedious and dangerous.

It’s also well suited for the altitude, said the 238th’s commander, Capt. A.J. Hager, himself a veteran of the unit’s deployment in 2013 to the region.

“Without the Chinook, the war in Afghanistan simply doesn’t happen,” said the Hager, referring to the ability of the tandem rotor aircraft to adapt to the thinner air at attitude.

Its primary role is the transportation of troops and large payloads at high speed and long ranges in battlefield conditions.

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