The Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation today handed over two new Chinook CH-47F transport helicopters to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF). A total of six CH-47Fs, two to replace helicopters lost in Afghanistan, will bring the number of RNLAF Chinooks to 17, including 11 CH-47Ds.
The CH-47F is easier to maintain than the CH-47D and its digital automatic flight control system makes it safer to fly in dusty and sandy conditions and to navigate, particularly at night, according to the Dutch Ministry of Defense. The new helicopter is also equipped with a self-defense system and has five fast rope positions. RNLAF CH-47Fs are painted grey instead of the CH-47D's green.
The Dutch Ministry of Defense notes a shortage in medium-lift helicopters for international operations, which the CH-47Fs will help reduce, but also employs Chinooks in national roles like firefighting.
Three RNLAF Chinooks are based in Fort Hood, Texas, for training purposes. In addition, the Dutch Ground-Air Cooperation School in Schaarsberg has a CH-47F mockup elevated 10 meters off the ground for practicing helicopter-related drills like fast roping, saving on flying hours.
Dutch Ministry of Defense photos