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Boeing Sells More Chinooks to the U.K.

by: Matthew Potter
August 29, 2011

Category: Boeing, Business Line, Companies, Contract Additions, Contract Awards, Countries, England, Events, logistics, Military Aviation, production program, Services | RSS 2.0

The fighting in Afghanistan by the U.S. and its NATO allies has required large amounts of helicopters and vertical lift. Men and supplies need to be moved around and this is the easiest way in a country that has limited roads and facilities. The conditions which are very stressing on aircraft due to the altitude and temperature placing a premium on performance. This has led to the use of very large helicopters such as Boeing’s (BA) CH-47 Chinook twin rotor heavy lift aircraft.

The U.S. Army especially has relied on the Chinook as it has little if no internal fixed wing cargo assets for a variety of reasons that have existed over the last sixty years since the U.S. Air Force came into being. The demands of the mission have also seen major allies such as Canada and the United Kingdom invest in the Chinook which has seen major upgrades over the last decade of fighting as have all of the U.S. rotary wing platforms due to the demands of the war against terror versus a fight with a conventional enemy.

As part of this the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence just announced a further order for Chinooks. They have issued a contract to Boeing worth over $1.6 billion for 14 more of the helicopters. This will increase the British fleet to 60 of the versatile systems.

Boeing is obviously happy about the deal as they need them to offset any future declines in U.S. defense spending although the large aerospace and defense contractor has several programs that should continue over the next few years. These include the KC-46A aerial tanker, the V-22 aircraft as well as the Chinook and AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. There is the distinct possibility though of cuts to the number that the U.S. military will buy as well as reductions in annual buy quantities.

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) either through the U.S. government or directly to allied nations will help keep Boeing’s production lines going and maintaining revenue and earnings. Competition for available deals will be great but Boeing has the advantage with something like the Chinook in that there is limited competition from European providers.

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