to buy six Boeing-made CH-47 heavy-lift military transport helicopters,
the first such weapons in its inventory, a senior procurement official
said over the weekend. The deal is worth up to $400 million, the official said.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, or DSCA, the Pentagon’s body
coordinating weapons sales, notified the U.S. Congress of a potential
sale of a total of 14 CH-47F heavy-lift helicopters for $1.2 billion in
December 2009. Congress gave permission for the sale later that month.
Because of financial constraints, however, the Undersecretariat for the
Defense Industry, or SSM, Turkey’s procurement agency, later wanted to
buy only six CH-47Fs, five for the Army and one for the Special Forces
Command, leaving a decision on the remaining eight platforms for the
future. Contract negotiations between the SSM, the U.S. government and
Boeing were launched last year.
“The contract was signed in late July,” the procurement official told
the Hürriyet Daily News. “After the helicopters begin to arrive, we plan
to make some modifications to them according to our needs.”
“These helicopters have incredible capabilities. Three or four of them
can transport a company-sized unit and its equipment over long distances
in only a few hours,” the procurement official said. The maximum speed
of the CH-47F is around 312 kilometers per hour.
Developed in the late 1960s, the Chinooks have been exported to many
countries, including Australia, Britain, Canada, Egypt, Greece, Italy,
Japan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and
the United Arab Emirates.
The Chinook has been successfully operated in combat conditions in several wars and armed conflicts.
Heavy-lift military transport helicopters are much larger versions of
utility helicopters. The Chinook is a twin-engine, twin-rotor
helicopter. Its counter-rotating rotors eliminate the need for an
anti-torque vertical rotor, allowing all power to be used for lift and
The CH-47F is the upgraded version of the CH-47D, and is the latest
model in this helicopter family. It can carry up to 60 troops and