Tue, Jan 25, 2011
Program Is Intended To Modernize The RAF Chinook Fleet
Boeing's UK Rotorcraft Support team has begun flight testing the
first Chinook Mk4 helicopter for the Royal Air Force (RAF). The
first flight took place on Dec. 9 in Hampshire, England.
"Project JULIUS, as the Mk4 program is known, will modernize the
current Royal Air Force Chinook fleet – essentially giving us
new aircraft," said Chris White-Horne, Mk4 project team leader for
the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence.
Project JULIUS will modify 38 Mk2/2A Chinooks into the Mk4/4A
configuration and eight Mk3 Chinooks into the Mk5 configuration.
All the aircraft will be delivered to RAF Odiham in Hampshire.
A major part of the modification for both the Mk4/4A and Mk5
aircraft is the Thales TopDeck cockpit. Thales UK is under contract
with Boeing to supply its Cockpit Display System/Mission Avionic
System, which will provide improved situational awareness,
increased safety and options for capability enhancement. The
upgraded and integrated cockpit display includes four multifunction
displays, two stand-by flight displays, updated communications
interfaces, and two new air data computers.
"The first of the modified JULIUS Chinook helicopters is
expected to be available to commanders before the end of 2011,"
said David Pitchforth, managing director, Boeing UK Rotorcraft
Support. "The entire Mk2 fleet will be fitted with the JULIUS
cockpit by early 2015, followed by Mk2A and Mk3 modifications by
2015 and 2016, respectively."
The modifications also include the addition of a third
crew-member seat and an update of Airworthiness & Safety
Certification and Qualification for the modernized Chinook. The
aircraft are being modified at the Gosport Fleetlands facility
operated by Vector Aerospace, Boeing's principal subcontractor for
deep support of the RAF Chinook fleet. Vector Aerospace has
established a dedicated production line at Fleetlands to support
the JULIUS program, with specialist component manufacture provided
from its Almondbank facility near Perth, Scotland.
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