The first ICH-47F Chinook helicopter destined for the Italian army made its maiden flight on June 24 at Vergiate, in northern Italy, program prime contractor AgustaWestland announced.
Italy’s defense ministry has ordered 16 of the customized Chinooks for the army, with options for four more. The contract includes five years of logistics support. Under a joint industrial agreement with Chinook manufacturer Boeing, AgustaWestland is the prime contractor for the ICH-47F program, with responsibility for systems integration, final assembly and delivery to the army. Boeing builds the Chinook fuselages at its manufacturing facility in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania; AgustaWestland performs final assembly at Vergiate.
The ICH-47F incorporates a secure communications system, self-protection system and advanced datalink system. The tandem-rotor helicopter is powered by twin Honeywell T55-GA-714A turboshafts and has a maximum all-up weight of 23 tons. The Italian army’s 1st Regiment, based in Viterbo, will operate the new Chinooks, which will replace 40 CH-47Cs that entered service in 1973. AgustaWestland plans to deliver the first ICH-47F early next year, with final deliveries in 2017.
Meanwhile, Boeing said that it delivered the first of 15 new CH-147F Chinooks to the Royal Canadian Air Force on June 21. The service’s 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron accepted the first Chinook, which will be followed by six more aircraft over the remainder of the year. The Canadian government awarded Boeing a contract for the helicopters and in-service support in June 2009; deliveries are scheduled to be completed by June next year. Boeing will provide in-service support for 20 years under a performance-based logistics contract.