US approves possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the acquisition of ten Boeing CH-47F Chinooks.

Approval of the potential sale, worth $830.3-million, was announced on November 7 in a media release from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). Following this announcement, the DSCA notified the US Congress, which will ultimately decide if it goes ahead. The sale will add ten CH-47Fs to the UAE Joint Aviation Command's fleet of CH-47C+/F helicopters.

The DSCA states that the deal includes ten CH-47F Chinooks - the latest variant of the famed transport helicopter - and 26 T55-GA-714A turboshaft engines, produced by Honeywell Aerospace. The potential sale comes with a wide variety of associated equipment, including 24 Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation Systems (GPS/INS), 20 M134D-H miniguns, 20 M240H machine guns and 12 BAE Systems AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS). Alongside this is a variety of defensive aids and survivability equipment along with relevant spares and personnel training.

CH-47F [Khalem Chapman]
Boeing CH-47F Chinook 04-08716, operated by the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 104th Aviation Regiment's (AVN) 2nd Battlion, in flight over the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, New York City in April 2018. Khalem Chapman

In the media release, the DSCA stated: "The proposed sale will expand the UAE's helicopter fleet.  Further, it will enhance the UAE's operational and defensive capabilities to better defend US and UAE national security interests in the region, and increase the UAE's contributions to any future joint or coalition efforts requiring helicopter support."

The DSCA also noted that the principal contractors in producing the UAEs potential CH-47F force will be Boeing Rotorcraft Systems - working from Ridley Park, Pennsylvania - Honeywell Aerospace, based in Phoenix, Arizona, and Science and Engineering services in Hunstville, Alabama. 

The CH-47 has been one of the largest tactical transport helicopters on the market since the earlier-1960s, serving as a valued workhorse for any operator that acquires the platform. With more than 1,200 produced since 1962, the Chinook serves in the military inventories of Australia, Canada, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Taiwan (Republic of China), the UAE, UK and US. The aircraft formerly served in the air arms of Argentina and Vietnam, prior to its respective retirement by the nation - and is on order with Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The UAEAF&AD currently operates a fleet of 20 CH-47F Chinooks, which are operated by Joint Aviation Command’s 25 Group and based at Sas Al Nakheel, Abu Dhabi. Also in service are the eight Italian-built, former Libyan Air Force CH-47C variants, which were upgraded to CH-47C+ standard before entering service in 2006.