Funding has been authorized to upgrade the UK Royal Air Force’s entire fleet of 48 Chinook HC.2/2A/3 tandem rotor helicopters under the ‘Project Julius’ programme.
Previously, funding was only secured for the first eight (8) aircraft. This upgrade will immediately take the entire RAF Chinook fleet up to a ‘glass cockpit’ standard, incorporating a nose-mounted forward looking infrared (FLIR) system. The first two aircraft should be available towards the end of 2011 with an initial operational capability (IOC) shortly after. The 48 aircraft are due to have been upgraded by 2016, giving the RAF a fleet of identically configured aircraft for the first time.
The Chinook HC.2s are equipped with a range of operational enhancements due to urgent operational requirements (UORs). In 2003 eight aircraft were additionally improved with a night enhancement package (NEP), while some were retrofitted with Honeywell T55-714 engines.