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Dutch Air Force sells 6 retired Chinooks to private operator in the US

Dutch Chinook Model D
Photo: Dutch defense ministry

The Dutch defense ministry has decided to sell six obsolete Chinook transport helicopters to private heavy lift helicopter operator Billings Flying Service.

The Netherlands is selling the CH-47D helicopters now the Royal Netherlands Air Force has received 20 new CH-47F MYII CAAS Chinooks. The service received the final CH-47F Chinook from Boeing in November last year after deciding in 2016 to purchase 14 new CH-47F from the US and upgrade the remaining six D-model Chinook helicopters to the F-model configuration.

Addressing the question of why the helicopters were not donated to Ukraine, state secretary for defense Christophe van der Maat said the transfer would not be an easy task due to their specific cockpits, which is only in use in the Netherlands and Singapore.

“This makes it difficult to provide education and training in an international context,” Van der Maat noted. “In addition, the unique cockpit makes future maintenance more difficult, because international cooperation is not possible.”

In addition to the helicopters, Billings Flying Service, which specializes in aerial firefighting, will also buy spare parts and aircraft-specific test equipment. The defense ministry expects to sign a contract for the sale this month.

The Netherlands had been operating Chinooks since 1993, when it signed an agreement with the Canadian government for the acquisition of 7 helicopters from Boeing. By 1998, the air force had 7 used and 6 new airframes in service.

The new CH-47F model Chinooks that were purchased by the Netherlands feature a fully integrated, digital cockpit management system compatible with Common Avionics Architecture System. The CH-47F also features an enhanced self-protection suite and satellite communication (SATCOM) system.