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Sunday, January 1, 2006

Rotorcraft Report: Australia Chinooks to Get $25-Million Upgrade

MILITARY

Australia Chinooks to Get $25-Million Upgrade

Australia's Chinook helicopters are about to undergo a $25-million upgrade to ensure they are combat ready for future operations. The upgrade includes electronic warfare, ballistic protection and advanced communications gear.

In approving the upgrade, Defence Minister Robert Hill said, "This equipment will improve the safety and survivability of the aircraft, as well as its ability to work closely with coalition forces if needed," he said. The upgrade is planned as part of a rapid acquisition project to provide the Australian Defence Force with the flexibility to be able to deploy the aircraft to cover a wide range of contingencies.

The Chinooks are the largest helicopters in Australia and considered critical assets for the army. Six are based in Townsville, Queensland, used for transporting troops, heavy lift of equipment and supplies and medical evacuation.

"This upgrade will ensure they are equipped with the necessary protection and latest technology to be safely deployed in any future high threat security environment," Hill said.

The new equipment to be installed on the Chinooks will be acquired through a rapid acquisition tender process with Australian industry and foreign equipment suppliers.

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