South Korea greenlights CH-47F helicopter acquisition


The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), which serves as the procurement arm of the South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND), has endorsed a plan to acquire Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy lift transport helicopters for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

The ₩1.49 trillion (US$1.15 billion) acquisition of the new helicopters is aimed at replacing the service’s ageing fleet of CH-47D Chinooks and is set to be completed by 2028. The plan, which is being pursued under the “Large Mobile Helicopter-II Project”, was approved by DAPA’s Defense Project Promotion Committee on 28 March.

DAPA did not disclose the number of new CH-47F helicopters to be purchased, but reports have put the number at between 18 and 20, although the RoKA is believed to operate about 23 CH-47D helicopters.

“Based on the results of the test evaluation and negotiations, the…CH-47F [platform] was deliberated and decided,” DAPA said in its statement, noting that the army’s ability to safely conduct large scale troop and equipment transportation as well as better respond to national disasters. The new helicopters are also expected to perform special operations missions.

A US Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s (DSCA) Foreign Military Sales (FMS) notification on 6 December 2022 indicated that the South Korean CH-47Fs will be fitted with the AN/APR-39 digital radar warning system manufactured by Northrop Grumman, Collins Aerospace’s AN/ARC-220 HF airborne communications system, AN/ARN-147(V) VHF Omni Ranging/Instrument Landing System (VOR/ILS), and AN/ARN 153 advanced digital Tactical Airborne Navigation (TACAN), BAE Systems AN/APX-123A identification friend-or-foe (IFF) transponder, as well as the Honeywell AN/APN-209 radar altimeter system.

According to DAPA, the new helicopters are expected to enter service with RoKA Aviation Operations Command from 2026-2027.

by Jr Ng