UK’s Global Military Operations Strengthened with Confirmed Contract for New Chinook Helicopters

Britain is set to enhance its heavy lift capabilities with the acquisition of 14 cutting-edge extended-range Chinooks (CH47-ER), a move expected to inject an estimated £151 million into the UK economy.

These advanced Chinooks mark a significant upgrade in the UK’s strategic mobility, offering unparalleled versatility in a variety of environments, from deserts to arctic conditions. They boast twice the range of standard Chinooks and have air-to-air refueling capabilities, allowing them to transport up to 55 personnel or 10,000 kg of cargo.

Equipped with a top speed of 300 kilometres per hour, these new helicopters will feature a range of modern enhancements, including a sophisticated digital cockpit and an updated airframe for improved stability and survivability.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the contract’s progression following a meeting with Royal Air Force crew members from the current Chinook fleet.

The procurement, facilitated through negotiations between the MOD’s Defence Equipment & Support and the US Government, has resulted in cost savings exceeding £300 million for certain programme elements. This ensures value for money while equipping the UK armed forces with a state-of-the-art heavy lift capability.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said:

Procuring these Chinook helicopters will mark a significant milestone in our efforts to modernise and enhance the agility of the UK Armed Forces, cementing our ability to respond at pace to situations and threats across the globe.

The Chinook is one of our most iconic aircraft, having been operated in every major conflict since the Falklands War. Delivering on this deal not only enhances our capability, but will boost UK industry and skills.

The Defence Secretary also visited Poland yesterday and met his counterpart to discuss international support for Ukraine, and made a further visit to meet British troops currently exercising in Poland.

As part of the deal, UK companies will also produce components critical for manufacturing and maintaining the Chinooks, supporting jobs in areas such as aircraft avionics and electric power, supporting skills development and wider UK industry.

Beyond the Chinook, the Government’s extensive negotiations with United States has helped to enshrine critical reforms into law that will benefit the UK. These laws will increase the speed and predictability of military procurement from the US going forward, and will strengthen shared partnerships like AUKUS through technology sharing.