On 25 March 2021, Koninklijke Luchtmacht (KLu, Royal Netherlands Air Force) CH-47F serial D-472 made its first flight in the Netherlands.
The Chinook arrived in the Netherlands on 14 January 2021 together with D-473 and was transported to the Logistiek Centrum Woensdrecht (LCW, Logistic Centre Woensdrecht) at Woensdrecht air base for final assembly. The CH-47F will be assigned to 298 Squadron at Gilze-Rijen air base, the new toned-down markings can be seen on the helicopter.
In the Defence budget for 2015, the Dutch government decided to invest in improving the employability and sustainability of the armed forces, including the extension of the KLu Chinook capacity with three helicopters, making it a fleet of twenty Chinooks. The project “Chinook Replacement & Modernisation” involves the acquisition of fourteen new CH-47F MYII CAAS (Common Avionics Architecture System) Chinooks for the replacement of the eleven older CH-47Ds. It was also decided not to upgrade the current six CH-47Fs, but to buy new ones.
The allocated serials of the twenty new CH-47F Chinooks are:
D-472, D-473, D-474, D-475, D-476, D-477, D-478, D-479, D-480, D-481, D-482, D-483, D-484 and D-485
D-601, D-602, D-603, D-604, D-605 and D-606
The expansion of the fleet, as well as the standardisation of the Chinook fleet through the modernisation of the current six CH-47F (NL) - completed by late 2021 - makes it that the squadron can operate the transport helicopter until 2045.
The Chinook “Replacement and Modernisation” project will lead to a reduced employability of the Chinook throughout the transition period. Eventually, five CH-47F MYIIs will be used for conversion training at Fort Hood (TX) and fifteen will be based at Gilze-Rijen.
Photo: Martijn Venix