Britain Orders 14 Boeing Chinooks in $1.65 Billion Deal

Choppers are considered the workhorse of the Royal Air Force.

Britain said it has ordered 14 new Chinook helicopters from Boeing at a cost of £1.0 billion ($1.65 billion).

Considered the Royal Air Force's workhorse, the heavy-lift choppers have served in theaters such as the Falklands War, Iraq and Afghanistan. The versatile aircraft can transport up to 40 men or 10 tons of cargo.

The new order will take Britain's Chinook fleet to 60. All of the 14 new helicopters should be fully operational by 2017.

"These additional helicopters will significantly enhance our existing heavy lift helicopter capability," Defense Secretary Liam Fox said.

"This fleet will support our frontline troops in current and future operations for decades to come."

The new Mark 6 Chinooks will feature a digital flight-control system, making them easier to operate in tough conditions, such as the hot and dusty environments encountered in Afghanistan, where Britain has 9,500 troops stationed.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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