South Korea upgrades its Chinook fleet

Avatar for Glenn SandsBy Glenn Sands | July 28, 2022

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 2 seconds.

South Korea’s Defense Project Promotion Committee endorsed its plan to purchase 18 Boeing CH-47F Chinooks for the South Korean Army earlier this month. The acquisition is being made under Seoul’s Heavy Utility Helicopter-II (HUH-II) project at the cost of US$1.06 billion.

The initial order was rumoured to be for 22 examples, but the number was later reduced for unspecified reasons. Further speculation states that at least a small number of the 18 will be optimised for South Korea’s special forces. The CH-47Fs are due to enter service by 2028.

The new CH-47F Chinooks will primarily be allocated to South Korean Army Aviation Battalions to replace the older D models. Boeing Photo

A statement from Boeing said: “We are pleased to be selected by the ROK to provide our industry-leading and proven CH-47F advanced heavy-lift helicopter. Korea has the world’s third-largest international Chinook fleet, and we are excited to add to its capabilities and continue strengthening our long relationship with the aircraft.  We will defer to the USG and DAPA for any additional comment.”

South Korea will replace its ageing Chinook CH-47D fleet with the improved CH-47F variant by 2028. Boeing Photo

Currently, South Korea operates a fleet of 30 CH-47D/DLR most of which serve with the 2nd Aviation Brigade composed of 301 and 302 Aviation Battalions at Icheon on the West Coast of South Korea, and 11 HH-47Ds operate from Cheongju as part of the 6th Search and Rescue Group, 231st Combat Search and Rescue Squadron as part of the South Korean Air Force’s CSAR commitment. 

With the confirmation of this deal, South Korea joins Australia, India, and Singapore in the Indo-Pacific region as operators of the CH-47F.

The likelihood of further sales in the region of the CH-47F is high, given Japan and Taiwan continue to operate the older CH-47D models, which will need replacing within the next few years.     

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