Britain’s heavy lift capability will be bolstered with the purchase of 14 extended-range Chinooks (CH47-ER), which will pump an estimated £151 million into the UK economy.

The new Chinooks significantly enhance the UK’s strategic mobility with its ability to operate in challenging environments.

From the desert to the arctic, the helicopter has double the range of a standard Chinook and is capable of air-to-air refuelling, with the ability to carry up to 55 personnel or 10,000 kg of cargo.

With a top speed of 300 kilometres per hour, the new helicopters will have a range of new capabilities, including an advanced digital cockpit and a modernised airframe to increase stability and survivability.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps announced the commitment to proceed with the contract after meeting crew members from one of the Chinooks in the Royal Air Force’s existing fleet.

The Defence Secretary Grant Shapps speaks to British service personnel, who are currently deployed on Steadfast Defender. Picture by Tim Hammond / MOD CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

Through successful negotiations between MOD’s procurement arm – Defence Equipment & Support – and the US Government, the UK has reduced costs for elements of the programme by more than £300 million, ensuring value for money whilst providing our armed forces with a cutting-edge heavy lift capability.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said:

Procuring these Chinook helicopters will mark a significant milestone in our efforts to modernise and enhance the agility of the UK Armed Forces, cementing our ability to respond at pace to situations and threats across the globe.

The Chinook is one of our most iconic aircraft, having been operated in every major conflict since the Falklands War. Delivering on this deal not only enhances our capability, but will boost UK industry and skills.

The Defence Secretary also visited Poland yesterday and met his counterpart to discuss international support for Ukraine, and made a further visit to meet British troops currently exercising in Poland. 

As part of the deal, UK companies will also produce components critical for manufacturing and maintaining the Chinooks, supporting jobs in areas such as aircraft avionics and electric power, supporting skills development and wider UK industry.

Beyond the Chinook, the Government’s extensive negotiations with United States has helped to enshrine critical reforms into law that will benefit the UK. These laws will increase the speed and predictability of military procurement from the US going forward, and will strengthen shared partnerships like AUKUS through technology sharing.


Main Photo: The Royal Air Force celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Chinook helicopter entering RAF Service in 2021 with a commemorative new colour scheme. Photo credit: LPHOT MARK JOHNSON – UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021

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