To the surprise of Central Queensland planespotters and aviation buffs, it was a delight for the lucky few to sight the movement of four Australian Army Boeing Chinook medium-lift helicopters through Rockhampton while ferrying from Townsville to Canberra at the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, April 16 -17 and available to capture the activity were local planespotters, Ash Burggraaff and Phil Munsel Photography.
The twin-engined helicopters that landed to take onboard fuel at the beef capital were CH-47D A15-202 and CH-47F A15-303 on Saturday (Apr 16) followed by CH-47F A15-306 and A15-307 on Sunday (Apr 17).
It is understood the older model of the Chinook helicopters - CH-47D A15-202 - was ferrying from North Queensland to the Australian Capital to be handed-over to the Australian War Memorial during a ceremony at Exhibition Park on Tuesday, April 19. The three new 'Foxtrot' models are expected to be present during the occasion.
Operated by C-Squadron / 5th Aviation Regiment at Townsville, the retiring fleet of seven CH-47D's are being replaced by seven new build 'F's, or more commonly known as 'Foxtrots'.
Of interest, four of the retiring CH-47D's were delivered to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in 1995 as C-models (CH-47C) but later upgraded by Boeing to 'D' model standards. This number was boosted with the delivery of two new build 'D's to the Australian Army in 2001. However, when CH-47D A15-102 was destroyed during operations in Afghanistan in May 2011, the Australian Government purchased two ex-US Army CH-47D Chinooks which were handed over in June 2012.
As a possible further addition to the ADF, it was announced late 2015 that the US Department of State had approved the sale of three extra Boeing CH-47F's to Australia which will take the army's Chinook fleet to 10 aircraft. This however has yet to be exercised as firm orders.
Improvements of the 'Foxtrot' Chinook over the earlier 'D' models include a digital cockpit, digital flight controls, new avionics, advanced communications system, more powerful engines and composite rotor blades, airframe structure changes to reduce vibration aswell as structural enhancements to the cockpit, cabin, aft section, pylon and ramp.
Additionally, Australian models include a rotor brake to enable embarked operations aboard the Canberra class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships by stopping the rotor blades, rather than allowing the blades to spin down naturally once the engines are turned off after landing.
Air Queensland.blogspot would like to sincerely Ash Burggraaff and Phil Munsel Photography for allowing us share the following remarkable photo's of four Australian Army Chinook helicopters at Rockhampton ... greatly appreciated !