NETHERLANDS MINISTER of Defence Henk Kamp told the Dutch Parliament on October 17 that a final decision on the planned acquisition of six new CH-47Fs in the 2007 — 2011 timeframe will now be taken before the year-end. However, he said the upgrade of the eleven surviving CH-47Ds in the current Royal Netherlands Air Force fleet to CH-47F standard will have to be delayed by ‘several years.’ This is because the budget assigned to the project is insufficient to cover all of the costs (updates Netherlands Requests CH-47Fs, November, p10).
Delivery of the first CH-47F to 298 Squadron — which will move from Soesterberg to Gilze-Rijen before the end of 2007 — is currently scheduled for mid-2009.
The higher cost both of the new airframes and the development of the new Common Architecture Avionics System (CAAS) cockpit has led to abandonment of the plan to standardise the Chinook fleet as soon as the additional Chinooks have been delivered.
Instead, the upgrade is expected to be combined with a life extension programme for the CH-47Ds at a later stage. The budget constraints have also led to a plan to acquire special forces equipment for four Chinooks (see Additional C-130s and CH-47s for RNLAF, November 2005, pl2) being postponed.