Australia — Precautionary suspension of CH-47D Chinook flying operations

Army has tem­porar­i­ly sus­pend­ed fly­ing oper­a­tions for the CH-47D Chi­nook heli­copter upon iden­ti­fy­ing pos­si­ble issues relat­ing to the oper­a­tion of the aircraft’s Advanced Flight Con­trol Sys­tem (AFCS) in cer­tain flight con­di­tions.

Direc­tor Gen­er­al Avi­a­tion, Brigadier Neil Tur­ton said the sus­pen­sion was to ensure safe­ty and is con­sis­tent with Army Oper­a­tional Air­wor­thi­ness pro­ce­dures.

“The pre­cau­tion­ary sus­pen­sion will remain in place pend­ing tech­ni­cal analy­sis of flight data by Defence and Boe­ing,” Brigadier Tur­ton said.

The pre­cau­tion­ary sus­pen­sion includes the two CH-47D Chi­nook air­craft deployed to Afghanistan in sup­port of ISAF oper­a­tions. The two air­craft are based at Kan­da­har Air Field and per­form com­bat and logis­tic sup­port mis­sions, and quick response tasks.

ISAF is cur­rent­ly well sup­port­ed by both mil­i­tary and con­tract­ed rotary wing assets. Cen­tral­i­sa­tion of avi­a­tion assets into the US Com­bat Avi­a­tion Brigades allows greater redun­dan­cy, syn­chro­ni­sa­tion of main­te­nance and improved mis­sion plan­ning. Australia’s Rotary Wing Group is part of the US 101st Com­bat Avi­a­tion Brigade.

“The ground­ing of the air­craft is not expect­ed to have an impact on the con­duct of oper­a­tions.

Mil­i­tary oper­a­tions staff will off­set the loss of capa­bil­i­ty and re-adjust sched­ules and sup­port arrange­ments to ensure that rotary wing assets are pri­ori­tised in accor­dance with mis­sion require­ments,” Brigadier Tur­ton said.

The Aus­tralian Army oper­ates five CH-47D Chi­nook air­craft. Of the five air­craft, two air­craft are deployed to Afghanistan, one is deployed to Papua New Guinea; one is on Horn Island; and the remain­ing air­craft is in Townsville where the Chi­nook fleet is based.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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