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The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has taken the decision to delay again purchasing 14 Chinooks to save costs. The order, originally announced in May 2021 at a cost of £1.4 billion, is for the new extended-range Chinooks from Boeing, via the US Foreign Military Sales agreement. At the time, it was stated that budgetary pressures meant delivery of the new aircraft would not have been completed until 2030, with the first example due to be issued to the RAF in 2026. The order is intended to allow the U.K. to retire an undisclosed number of its oldest Chinook models. This is expected to see the RAF’s fleet shrink to around 51 airframes, from its current 60 models.
The cutting-edge H-47 (ER) can carry double the fuel load of the standard Chinook airframes, with the RAF examples set to be based at RAF Odiham, where the UK’s entire fleet is located.
This delay, the second to the program, has been due to the U.K. having to “reconsider the expenditure profile of this project,” in the words of the MoD. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also contributed to this decision to delay the program further.
The decision is expected to cost UK taxpayers £300 million more due to anticipated inflation.