Affectionately known as the 'Wokka' thanks to its distinctive sound, the CH-47 Chinook is a well-known tandem rotor heavy lift helicopter. The Chinook originally entered service with the US Army 61 years ago as the HC-1B - a larger and heavier development of the HC-1A which became known as the CH-46 Sea Knight. Equipped with a large central cargo hold accessed via a rear ramp, the Chinook was capable of carrying vehicles, boats, or significant numbers of troops. Not only did the type possess an excellent cargo hold but it could also carry heavy loads externally slung under the fuselage on three cargo hooks. During the Falklands War, a single RAF Chinook known as Bravo November was able to achieve the air lift of 81 troops at once - this well know Chinook is now on display at the RAF Museum Midlands at RAF Cosford. The most recent versions developed are the CH-47F and the MH-47G, the latter is configured for special operations for the US Army.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) first acquired seven surplus CH-47C Chinooks from the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1993 which were upgraded to CH-47D standard by Boeing. A further six CH-47D's were also acquired new. The RNLAF CH-47D fleet were deployed world wide in support of allied peace keeping and combat operations. In 2012, the RNLAF acquired six CH-47F Chinooks to supplement the fleet before deciding to acquire a further 12 to replace the CH-47D in 2016. The CH-47D was retired during December 2021 and the six older CH-47F's have been upgraded to the same standard as the newer helicopters.
The RNLAF will be sending a pair of their CH-47F Chinooks to appear on static display at this year's Air Tattoo. The helicopters are being provided by 298 Squadron from Gilze-Rijen Air Base; the unit is known as the "Grizzlies".
Photo Credit: RIAT Volunteer
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