Special Operations Command interested in American CH-47 Chinook

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According to the COS press kit provided on July 14, 2019, the latter is currently studying the acquisition of heavy Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters in order to extend aeromobility solutions for its special forces, which only one heavy helicopter like the Chinook could provide.

The COS has its own combat helicopter regiment, the 4th Special Forces Helicopter Regiment, based in Pau, made up of a staff and 7 squadrons and with a mix of light Gazelle helicopters, Puma, Cougar and Caracal maneuvering helicopters, and a squadron of Tiger combat helicopters. Even if the Puma will soon be replaced by NH90s specially adapted to the needs of the FS, and the gazelles by H160M Guépards, the need for heavy transport remains unsolved, except through European cooperation. Indeed, the British, Dutch and Spanish have CH47 Chinooks, which they have deployed on several occasions in support of French operations, particularly in the Sahel.

The 4th RHFS gazelle tiger cougar caracal Defense News | Construction of Military Helicopters | Defense Contracts and Calls for Tenders
The 4th RHFS has a diverse fleet of machines: Gazelle, Tigre, Cougar and Caracal

Although it entered service in 1962 in the US Army, the CH47 remains a reference in the West in the field of heavy transport helicopters, being competed in this field only by the CH53 from Sikorsky. With a maximum take-off weight of more than 22 tonnes, it can carry more than 40 equipped men in addition to the crew, and transport them over long distances, far beyond the performance of an NH90 TTH, half as heavy. , but also almost half as expensive. It is today in service in more than twenty countries, including 8 NATO members, with more than 1200 units of the aircraft having been built to date.

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The Special Forces are not the only ones wishing to have a heavy helicopter in the French armies. The ALAT, to strengthen and extend its aeromobility means, and the Naval Air Force, to increase the projection capabilities of Amphibious Helicopter Carriers, would greatly benefit from such a device. In fact, the majority of European armies have a need for this type of device, representing a sufficient park to consider a European design of such a helicopter. On the other hand, for the FS, the urgency of the need would require an off-the-shelf purchase of a few units in the United States.

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