Well it would be if it wasn’t recycled news. It’s been well known for some time that the Chinooks needed upgraded and back in 2008 we had this story taken from Flight International. It is dated 18th October 2008 nearly a whole year ago and says:
Efforts to bring the UK Royal Air Force’s fleet of Boeing CH-47 transport helicopters to a common configuration have been launched, with funding secured to start modernisation work on eight of its 40 Chinook HC2/2As.
Dubbed Project Julius, the work includes the integration of digital avionics and an engine upgrade to Honeywell’s T55-714 standard, and builds on existing efforts to provide Bowman battlefield communications connectivity and successor identification friend-or-foe equipment.
Meanwhile, so-called reversion work on the RAF‘s eight previously stored Chinook HC3s is on track, with the first extended-range aircraft to soon arrive at RAF Odiham in Hampshire for trials of its replacement analogue cockpit, integrated by Qinetiq.
A strange similarity there between today’s “announcement ” and last years story, what can be the difference?.
And what can be the difference between this story from 13th August 2009
The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) has agreed to purchase 55-L-714A engines and spares from Honeywell to retrofit the RAF’s fleet of 48 Chinook helicopters under a contract valued at $185 million. The 55-L-714A is the international customer upgrade for the T55 turboshaft engine [PDF]. The upgrade increases the engine power by 17%, increases the maintenance intervals and reduces fuel consumption by nearly 5%, according to Garrett Mikita, president of defense and space at Honeywell Aerospace.
and today’s story.
Surely they are not one and the same story? Obviously we are upgrading these Chinooks every six months, this can be the only explanation unless the MOD and Quentin Davis are lying.
The biggest give away is of course actually in the MOD story when it says:
Fortunately there were no casualties in the recent Chinook loses and Mr Davies revealed that in the second incident the helicopter was able to continue flying and reach safety despite being badly damaged by a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG). This was because the helicopter was one of the vehicles fitted with the new engines. All crew and passengers were then safely extracted on a second Chinook taking part in the mission.
Of course this story is from back on the 20th August 2009 a week after the agreement to purchase the new engines was apparently signed, surely we can’t be fitting engines that quickly, which must mean we have been getting the engines for some time.
So what we must conclude from the Press Release today is that this is yet again another re-announcement. It is not new money or indeed anything new, it is just a cobbled together Propaganda story to try and show that the Labour Government is helping our Armed Forces in Afghanistan.
This is a complete and utter travesty of the truth, but just nothing less than what you would expect from Gordon Brown, lickspittle Defence Minister Bob “Busta Gut” Ainsworth and their toady Quentin Davis.