The Boeing Company delivered a new HC Mk 2A Chinook heavy lift helicopter to the British Royal Air Force (RAF) in a brief ceremony Dec. 6.
The new Chinook is the first of 14 HC Mk 2A and HC Mk 3 rotorcraft manufactured for the RAF under a 1995 contract. Subsequent deliveries will continue through the year 2000.
"The RAF has been one of our most important international customers," said James J. Morris, vice president and general manager, The Boeing Company in Philadelphia. "Initiation of this latest procurement program is further evidence of the RAF's continuing reliance on the Chinook in virtually every mission scenario and operating environment imaginable. Few Chinook users have put their helicopters to more varied use than the RAF, and few operators so thoroughly wring out this rotorcraft. Clearly, the Chinook can take it, and its reliability and performance have led to this addition to the RAF fleet."
In accepting the HC Mk 2A, the Resident Project Officer of the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence Procurement Executive said that continuing technology improvements in the Chinook have been a hallmark of its use in the RAF. "By developing value-added improvements to the aircraft, Boeing facilitates our continuing reliance on the Chinook and helps to ensure that it remains a cost-effective platform in our operations."
The HC Mk 2A incorporates several technology improvements, including addition of single precision machined fuselage frames and structural elements that add strength to the aircraft while eliminating hundreds of parts and fasteners.
Boeing verified the performance of the new machined frames through extensive vibration and flight tests.
Raymond A. Brosius, director, Tandem Rotor Programs at Boeing in Philadelphia, added, "This delivery marks a real milestone for our tandem rotor helicopter programs. We are really happy to get the Chinook under way again. This is the first Chinook we have delivered in more than a year, but we've taken advantage of the delay to make sure that all future new and modernized Chinooks will be completely ready for 21st century heavy lift requirements.
"We have 26 Chinooks under contract with several international customers for future delivery," Brosius continued, "and we expect to add to this backlog soon. The Chinook will be a prime mover in the global rotorcraft inventory for decades to come."
The Boeing Company, with headquarters in Seattle, is the world's leading aerospace manufacturer, with products for commercial, military, space and information markets around the world.