Air Transportation: Chinook Chases Cougar Out Of Afghanistan

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May 18, 2010:  The Netherlands has rotated its helicopter contingent in Afghanistan, sending three CH-47D "Chinooks" to replace five Cougars. The Eurocopter Cougar EC725 is an 11 ton aircraft with a useful load of 5.5 tons, a top speed of 324 kilometers an hour, a range of about 850 kilometers and can stay in the air for about five hours per sortie. The Cougars have been in Afghanistan since last October, and flew 271 missions, and spent 1,069 hours in the air. An-124 aircraft are used to move the helicopters to and from the Netherlands.

The larger CH-47D "Chinook" is a 22 ton aircraft with a max load of ten tons. It can carry up to fifty troops, and is preferred in Afghanistan because of its ability to operate effectively at high altitudes. The first CH-47s entered service in 1962, able to carry only five tons. Some 750 saw service in Vietnam, and 200 were lost in action. Between 1982-94, 500 CH-47s were rebuilt to the CH-47D standard. SOCOM operates 31 MH-47Ds and Es, which have additional navigation gear. These are being upgraded to MH-47F standards, and the fleet expanded to 61 helicopters. As a result of all this, the CH-47 will end up serving at least 75 years. The CH-47F upgrades and new builds will not be completed until 2018. New CH-47Fs cost about $35 million each. The Netherlands has ordered nine CH-47Fs.

 

 


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