South Korea is pushing ahead with plans to replace its fleet of aging Republic of Korea (RoK) Armed Forces Boeing CH-47D Chinooks with a new variant of the aircraft.
The Seoul government on Tuesday backed a defense project to buy an unspecified number of CH-47F Chinook helicopters to replace the army’s aging heavy-lift helicopters, the state arms procurement agency said.
The South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) stated that the “purchase of the CH-47F is under consideration.” The acquisition will be for Seoul’s Heavy Utility Helicopter-II (HUH-II) project.
The Defense Projects Promotion Committee (DPPC) was reported to have completed the KRW 1.4 trillion (USD 1.06 billion) project to purchase some 20 CH-47Fs for the South Korean military on July 15. DAPA did not clarify whether they were Block I or Block II aircraft. According to the data, the army operates 37 CH-47Ds. The first batch of aircraft was purchased in 1988.
According to DAPA, the new helicopters will be purchased between the years 2022 and 2028.
The DPPC had initially approved a proposal to replace the CH-47Ds in South Korean military service by January 2022. However, a committee meeting held on July 15 changed the purchase plan. In it the purchase method was adjusted.
The DAPA specified that the initial approval of the project in January had aroused the interest of the United States Government and two private companies, Lockheed Martin and Leonardo.
“After two rounds of tender announcements, the two companies dropped out of the tender,” the DAPA said. “For this reason, DAPA has changed its purchasing plan from ‘a competition between FMS [Foreign Military Sales] and DCS [Direct Commercial Selling]’ to FMS only.”