6 months ago

Magazine Helicopter Industry #102

  • Text
  • Rotor
  • Helicopters
  • Aircraft
  • Operations
  • Missions
  • Squadron
  • Airbus
  • Aviation
  • Fleet
  • Cargo
  • Operational


HELICOPTER INDUSTRY I MILITARY I In order to prevent a “mixed fleet” of CAAS and ACMS Chinooks, which would have been costly during the sustainment of the fleet, it was then decided to renew and modernize the six ACMS F-models. On December the 14th, 2017 The Netherlands and Boeing signed the Direct Commercial Sales contract for the Renew Program, converting the six ACMS F-models into the exact same configuration as the 14 new Chinooks. Operating the standard MYII CAAS Chinook will allow for further optimization of operations, training and maintenance. «We have had a lot of contact with the US Army and the Australian MOD being existing operators, to understand potential challenges we might encounter when fielding the new Chinooks. When we deliver them to the RNLAF (Royal Netherlands Air Force), we want to make sure that there are no obstacles and that they will be able to operate and sustain the helicopters during the first three years. This period will allow the RNLAF to become self-supporting when it comes to inservice support» according to Colonel Koen van Gogh, Senior Project Manager Defense Material Organization (DMO) who is responsible for the Replacement and Modernization programme Chinook. «At around 2500 parts of the legacy CH-47Fs will be reused. These parts will be overhauled (zero hours status) before being installed on brand-new MYII CAAS airframes. This option turned out to be more efficient and affordable than modifying the legacy CH-47F fleet. The first idea was to just replace the ACMS cockpit of the legacy Fs by a MYII CAAS Cockpit. We concluded the risk was too big in terms of certification and costs» according to Colonel van Gogh. «The legacy CH-47Fs are now sent to ‘Summit Aviation’ who are tasked by Boeing under the Renew contract to remove the usable parts from the helicopters and have them delivered into the overhaul process.» Summit Aviation is an Industry Leader in Aircraft Maintenance, Repair, Avionics upgrades, Mission System Integration, Modifications and Aircraft sales. The new CH-47F MY II CAAS Chinook comes with the short nose, which differs from the current «F» version in appearance. This meant there is no room for our current Weather Radar. Also, the FLIR system under the nose will not be implemented. Another striking difference is the Woodland Desert Sage Color Scheme, instead of the current grey scheme. «Although the main goal was to stay common with the US Army, Dutch operating intent and national legislation led to the addition of some unique modifications. Fortunately, there is no need to integrate these into CAAS, so commonality will not be affected.» The additional Dutch requirements such include Crashworthy Crew Seats with ballistic protection, leading to modified MFCUs (MultiFunctional Control Units), a LH Removable escape Hatch, a Hook Load Measuring System, an Ice Detection System, a Pitot Heater Failure Indicator, FRIES (Fast Rope Ingress and Egress System), including external hardpoints, and a minor change to the electrical system, all which can be implemented during the production. A Fall Protection System to protect maintainers, and an Emergency Locator Transmitter are implemented by «SES-I» (Science and Engineering Services) in Huntsville, Alabama as ‘Post Production Modifications’. «We choose for ‘SES-I’ because they did similar work for the US Army and to make sure we do not interfere with the work performed on the Boeing production line» explains Colonel van Gogh. On March the 20th 2020, the first Royal Netherlands Air Force CH-47Fs have made their maiden flight during acceptance at Boeing Philadelphia (registration D-472 and D-473). HI I 46

These two helicopters left Boeing Ridley Park to be ferried to Huntsville in Alabama on the 5th of May 2020 for validation and verification by the US Army and the Post Production Modifications by «SES-I». «These two helicopters are planned to be the first CH-47s to be send to The Netherlands by December 2020. After arrival in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, the helicopters will be transported to Woensdrecht Air Base in The Netherlands where they will be prepared to be transferred to 298 Squadron with an expected arrival at Gilze-Rijen around mid- January 2021» according to Colonel van Gogh. These two CH- 47Fs will have all our additional requirements implemented and will have the Digital Automated Flight Control System (DAFCS) 3.5 software and CAAS 9.4 installed. The Colonel continues «In order to support a tight conversion schedule of our flight crew to the MYII CAAS Chinook, we decided that the next six CH-47Fs coming from the production line will not undergo the Post Modification until a later date. These six Chinooks will go to Fort Hood, TX (USA) directly to be used for conversion training. The next batch of CH-47Fs will be delivered after the Post Modification. The earlier unmodified CH-47s will then be rotating through ‘SES-I’ to complete the process of modification as well. During January-February 2021 we have planned the arrival of another two CH-47s to the Netherlands, these will be airframes built with retrofitted parts of the legacy CH-47Fs». Concludes the Colonel. To support the transition and difference training, a Transportable Flight Proficiency Simulator (TFPS) has been procured from NAVAIR (Naval Air Systems) Manned Flight Simulator Enterprise Team which is stationed at NAS Patuxent River (US). «The procurement of a TFPS, stationed at Gilze-Rijen, will be more efficient for the Squadron as there will no longer be a need to train in the simulator at the Royal Air Force at RAF Benson Air Base» continues Koen van Gogh. «The TFPS has already arrived at Gilze-Rijen Air Base and we are awaiting a team from NAVAIR to do the final acceptance testing of the Simulator. The TFPS will need to be ready before the first group Instructor Pilots is scheduled to receive their Conversion Training at Fort Hood, since the TFPS will be used for the crew’s Ground School/ Academics training at Gilze-Rijen Air Base before they head to Ft. Hood for the flight training. Each Aviator will undergo a three-week training on the Simulator before attending a three-week course with 302 Squadron in the US and participating in an American Falcon exercise, held four times a year. Upon return to the Netherlands the Aviators will be Fully Qualified Pilots on the MYII CAAS Chinook». Lt Colonel van den Berg adds «We had planned to send a socalled Class 0 to Fort Hood in the US during the June-July 2020 period for the Instructor Course on the MY II CAAS variant. As we have five flights with five crews, we have fifty pilots and fifty loadmasters to train, resulting in five training classes at Fort Hood. This Transition Training is planned to be executed over an eighteen-month period. We will have a team from the US Army to support the Conversion, a so-called NETT Team (New Equipment Training Team)”, both locally at Gilze-Rijen as in Ft. Hood. Expectation is to achieve Full Operational Capable status by mid-2022 with the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) by October 2021». HI I 47