Three newly modernized
CH-47D Chinook heavy-lift helicopters have begun service here, thanks to a team of specialists from the Egyptian Air Force (EAF), Boeing [NYSE: BA] and the U.S. Army's Security Assistance Management Directorate (SAMD).
In an operation Egyptian authorities described as "flawless," team members took only a week to unload the Chinooks from a transport ship that arrived on May 28 in the port city of Alexandria, assemble, inspect and test the aircraft, then fly them to Kom Awshem Air Force Base, about 100 kilometers south of Cairo. The three Chinooks, one of them delivered six weeks ahead of schedule, officially joined their new squadron on June 4, and began operation in military missions and training almost immediately thereafter.
Boeing Egypt program manager, Carl Trincia, coordinated the acceptance process at Kom Awshem. EAF aircrews and mechanics handled most of the tasks during delivery, while U.S. Army SAMD staff directed the operation with assistance from a U.S. Army technical assistance forward team.
"The entire operation went very smoothly," Trincia said. "This was a real tribute to the professionalism of all EAF personnel, including flight crews and maintenance and technical support specialists. The aircraft were in great shape, with no problems concerning their acceptance or flight capabilities."
Boeing manufactured four new CH-47Ds for the Egyptian Air Force in 1999, and is completing modernization of 12 of the 15 CH-47C Chinooks in the EAF fleet. Boeing delivered the first modernized Chinook in December 2002. Seven aircraft will be delivered this year, with the remaining four aircraft scheduled for 2004.
"The Egyptian Air Force is an outstanding Boeing customer and a valued member of the worldwide Chinook family," said Pat Shanahan, Boeing Rotorcraft Systems vice president and general manager. "We have delivered the modernized aircraft to the EAF on or ahead of schedule, and we intend to maintain this accelerated pace. We also welcome the opportunity to bring the entire EAF Chinook fleet up to the CH-47D standard."
Boeing, the EAF and the U.S. Army have begun discussions on the feasibility of upgrading the remaining three CH-47C aircraft, which would increase the Egyptian CH-47D fleet to 19 newly manufactured or modernized Chinooks.
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