Britain and the UAE will order 24 heavy helicopters CH47 Chinook

According to the Secretary of the US Army, Ryan McCarthy, the British armies are close to ordering 14 new Boeing CH47 Chinook heavy helicopters, and the United Arab Emirates, 10 examples, two crucial orders to maintain the production line of the American helicopter . Indeed, since 2018, the US Army considers that it already has enough modern CH47s for its needs, while Boeing and the political representatives of the states where the aircraft are assembled, are putting pressure to maintain the US Army's order at the level of 64 new units in the coming years.

If these orders were to be confirmed soon, this would allow the US Army to reduce this order by 28 units, to redirect these credits towards new strategic programs, such as the Future Vertical Lift program, which will replace the UH-60 helicopters. Black Hawk and the OH-58 Kiowa (already withdrawn from service since 2014). To finance these new programs, the US Army must make $31 billion in savings on nearly 186 programs by 2024. But as is often the case, such radical decisions have harmful effects on the defense industry, and on the entire ecosystem that depends on it, particularly at the local level.

CH53 Germany Defense News | Construction of Military Helicopters | Defense Contracts and Calls for Tenders
Germany wants to acquire 60 heavy helicopters to replace its CH53s

The 14 British Chinooks will join the 60 examples already in service with the Royal Air Force, replacing the oldest units dating from the 80s, and the 10 aircraft intended for the Emirati forces will join the 19 helicopters already in service, and the 5 ordered . Germany is also considering the possibility of acquiring 60 aircraft to replace its CH53 Super Stallion heavy helicopters, and Israel wishes to acquire 20 additional units to strengthen its fleet of CH53 heavy helicopters modernized to the Yas'ur standard.

The Future Vertical Lift program provides for the replacement of the US Army's CH47 heavy helicopters from 2035, by the JMR-Heavy (Joint Multi-Role Heavy) program. But Boeing is trying to postpone this program, considering the CH47 to be sufficiently efficient for decades to come. However, the positions defended by Boeing risk being quickly eroded by the new models being tested for the FLRAA (Future Long Range Assault Aircraft) program which sees the SB1 Défiant from Sikorsky and the Bell V280 Valor, and which seem to impose a new standard, particularly in terms of speed, for aeromobility.

SIKORSKSY FARA Forest MEDIA APPROVED October 2019 1 1024x576 News Defense | Construction of Military Helicopters | Defense Contracts and Calls for Tenders
Sikorsky presents the Raider-X for the FARA program, a helicopter which will exceed 200 knots, and will impose a new speed standard for aerocombat

Boeing's helicopter division, which nevertheless produces the AH 64 Apache and the CH47 Chinook, two pillars of the US Army's aerocombat doctrine, seems to be losing ground compared to Bell and Sikorsky in the FLRAA and FARA (Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft) which today form the FVL program. If the Seattle company was able to get closer to Sikorsky to the SB1 Defiant of the FLRAA program, derived from Sikorsky's S97 Raider, it has not yet presented a model for the FARA competition, leaving room for speculation.

Between the difficulties surrounding the Boeing 737 MAX on the civil market, the defeats in major military competitions which will give birth to the F22, F35 and B21, the poor performance and KC-46 deadlines, and the lack of inspiration on the FVL helicopter programs, Boeing seems to be facing a combination of factors that could threaten its own existence. It is probably not by taking legal action against Airbus, or by organizing lobbying campaigns in the American Senate to force the US Army to buy CH47s that it does not want, that the aeronautical giant will manage to regain control over its productions, its market, and its destiny…

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