£400 million investment for the Royal Air Force

The Ministry of Defence has announced that the RAF will be boosted by an investment of almost £400 million to enhance the capabilities of two of its vital assets – the C-17 Globemaster aircraft and the CH-47 Chinook helicopter.

The UK’s C-17 fleet – which recently played a key role in the UK’s evacuation from Afghanistan – will receive a £324 million investment, which will upgrade software and hardware to improve airlift capability as part of a contract with the US Air Force.

The UK’s fleet of Mk5 and Mk6 Chinook helicopters will be enhanced with state-of-the-art defensive systems, as part of a £64 million contract with Boeing Defence UK (BDUK) which will make them harder for adversaries to detect.

The investment builds on commitments outlined in the Defence Command Paper earlier this year, which confirms an operational obligation to both aircraft as part of the Integrated Force 2030 approach. This is further supported by the £24 billion increase in defence spending over the next four years, announced by the Prime Minister in November 2020.

Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, said: “Whether evacuating people in Kabul, transporting people to hospital during Covid-19 or providing crucial logistics on the battlefield, the C-17 and Chinook provide an invaluable service to our Armed Forces across the globe. This investment ensures our aircraft are equipped with cutting-edge technology to face a myriad of emerging threats from adversaries.”


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