We make a nice chopper in Delaware County. The Royal Air Force just ordered up another 14 Chinooks from the Boeing plant in Ridley Township for a cool $1.64 billion (1 billion pounds Sterling, if you care).
From Boeing's announcement today:
The new-build CH-47 Mark (Mk)-6 Chinooks are part of the MOD's Strategic Helicopter Vision to modernize its helicopter force structure, and will expand the RAF fleet to 60 Chinooks.
"From the Falkland Islands to Iraq and Afghanistan, the RAF has operated Chinooks magnificently for many years in the most demanding environments," said UK Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox. "These additional helicopters will significantly enhance our existing heavy-lift helicopter capability. This fleet will support our frontline troops in current and future operations for decades to come."
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton called the Chinook "an exceptionally capable helicopter that, in the hands of the very skillful RAF crews, has proved itself time and again in many operational theaters across the globe and is the backbone of the Royal Air Force's helicopter fleet."
I agree with that, but would add that the twin-rotor copter is exceptional in the hands of U.S. pilots, as well. I'm sure that's what Sir Dalton meant to say. The helicopters will be delivered to the U.K. between 2013 and 2015. AFP has more details on the deal.