Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Possible Sale of Chinook Helicopters to Turkish Army

Strategy-Geopolitics reports that the Defense Security Cooperation Agency of the US Department of Defense notified Congress of the possible sale of 14 CH-47F Chinook medium lift helicopters to Turkey. The notification includes a list of related items such as 32 T55-GA-714A engines, 28 AN/ARC-201E SINGARS radios, 14 AN/APR39A(V)1 radar warning receivers, training, support and documentation for an estimated cost of 1.2 billion USD.

The Turkish Executive Committee for Defence Industries is expected to convene on the 6th of January 2010 to decide on a winner of this particular tender. The Boeing CH-47F Chinook is considered to be the frontrunner in this selection process as the competing Sikorsky CH-53 K version of th Super Stallion is still under development. The Turkish Secretariat for the Defence Industry had earlier requested raising the number of helicopters to be procured to 14, of which 4 are destined for use by the Special Forces. Last August a team of Turkish officers visited the Boeing factory in Philadelphia to evaluate the CH-47F Chinook.

This F version is the most advanced version of the Chinook to date. The Chinook has been in service with the Greek Armed Forces for many years. Greece operates 9 CH-47DG and 6 CH-47SD models from Megara Army Aviation Base near Athens.

If the Turkish purchase goes ahead, combined with the intended acquisition of 123 new utility helicopters, the Turkish Armed Forces will have an entirely new fleet of helicopters with which to perform airborne assault operations on a large scale. The contenders for the new utility helicopter programme are the Agusta Westland TUHP-149 and the Sikorsky T-70, which is a special version of the S-70 for Turkey.

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