RIDLEY PARK, Pa.–The success of the Ch-147F Canadian Chinook helicopter program could point the way toward future acquisition successes, a Canadian Royal Air Force acquisition official said during ceremonies marking the delivery here of the final Boeing [BA] CH-147F in the program.
“The combined efforts of the Government of Canada, Boeing and all partners involved in delivering this new capability, on time and an on budget, serve as a model for future Canadian Defense acquisitions,” Canadian Air Force Col. Andrew Fleming, program manager for the Medium Heavy Lift Helicopter Project Management Office, said at ceremonies June 30.
The $1.5 billion program delivered 15 helicopters in 12 months, on time and on schedule, he said.
While the Canadian Chinook program was an Air Force acquisition, what was learned offers “lessons that can be applied to (Canadian) army and navy programs” as well, he said. Close communication between the services and industry makes a difference.
Working closely with Canada was a key point for Boeing Vice President Cargo Helicopters and H-47 Program Manager Steve Parker, who measured success by three measures: teamwork between government and industry, helping to find solutions to complex challenges, Boeing’s pride in its products and knowing the “importance of our work helping the United States and its allies defend their sovereignty and protect their interests,” and working very closely with the Canadian customer to provide an aircraft to maintain national sovereignty and provide protection at home and on international missions.
The CH-147F was designed and built to meet Canada’ unique requirements able to meet the operational needs of the RCAF into the future, moving troops, equipment and providing support wherever it goes, at home and abroad. The helicopters are RCAF owned, but a joint asset.
To meet humanitarian or disaster needs, the helicopter has a modernized airframe with a long-range fuel system allowing it to fly about twice as far as standard models. An upgraded electrical system provides additional power and redundancy, while a fully integrated Common Avionics Architecture System cockpit and Digital Automatic Flight Control System reduce pilot workload and provides greater situational awareness.
The aircraft also has an advanced Aircraft Survivability Equipment suite including a Directional Infrared Countermeasures system, and three defensive machine guns that increase crew safety while allowing operations to be conducted in a wider range of threat environments.
The modernized airframe is going to go into U.S. MH-47G special operations Chinook, Parker said, though he could not comment on specifics.
Boeing is providing support for the helicopters under a 20-year Performance-based Logistics (PBL) contract incorporating several Canadian companies such as: L-3 Communications MAS [LLL], Raytheon Canada Limited [RTN] and General Dynamics Canada [GD]. The company is a year into the first five-year PBL increment.
The work is outcome based, and includes guaranteed aircraft availability, and support at home and abroad, said Ray Haddad, director of Boeing Chinook rotorcraft support. Boeing has two offices in Canada, one in Ottawa and another at the CH-147′s Petawawa, Ontario, base.
The goal is to support the helicopters wherever they are based, Parker said.
Boeing is closely integrated with its Canadian customer leading to program success, said Mark Ballew, director of Business Development for Cargo and Utility Helicopter Programs, Boeing Military Aircraft. Insights gained on the program are shared across the wider Boeing enterprise, and the Army.
Some information on the characteristics of the Ch-147F has been shared with potential Chinook customers, Ballew said. Canada is “willing and wants to talk about what it does.” And, Canadians have gone to talk to at least three such potential customers, he said.
Meanwhile, the final CH-47F was piloted home to its new base: Petawawa, where all 15 Canadian Chinooks are part of RCAF 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron under 1 Wing Kingston Ont. Appropriately, the tandem rotorcraft arrived on July 1, Canada’s national day.