The 25 “Indians” of the Army Air Force are the tireless “work horses” with their crews ready to undertake any type of mission. They have already made their presence felt in the great battle to put out the fires.
The Chinook transport helicopters are without a doubt one of the most valuable aerial vehicles that the Hellenic Armed Forces have in their arsenal. The 25 “Indians” of the Army Air Force are the tireless “work horses” with their crews ready to undertake any type of mission. They have already made their presence felt in the great battle to put out the fires while at the same time they are carrying out a series of planned and unplanned activities in the context of the training of the Armed Forces as well as the needs for the transport of personnel and materials mainly in the Aegean islands. In addition, they carry the main burden in moving the state, political and military leadership to every corner of Greece from Kastellorizo and Evros to Othonou and Gavdos.
“Respite” for the Army Aviation and for the 4 TEAS to which they belong is expected to be the receipt within 2023 of ten new engines intended for the older nine Chinooks acquired in the early 80’s with CH-47C configuration which then they were modernized to CH-47D. These are the T-55-L-712 engines which are no longer supported with spare parts resulting in the helicopters becoming bogged down depriving the Armed Forces of valuable aerial assets. The process of replacing the old engines began in 2020 after a delay of several years, with the GES hoping that within the next year, the older Chinooks available to the Army Air Forces will gradually become available.
At the same time, the GES is waiting for the Americans’ response to the letter of interest sent by LOR for the purchase of ten new ChinookCH-47Fs and the modernization of another ten from CH-47D configuration to CH-47F. The effort for the purchase of new Chinooks aims to integrate the Greek order into a corresponding US ARMY order so that the helicopters are received soon while the repayment is made through the FMS process on favorable terms and over time so that the financial burden is controlled with data and the other major equipment needs of the Armed Forces. GES seeks similar facilities for the modernization of the older Chinooks.
Indicative of the usefulness of Chinooks and the thousands of missions they undertake every year is that since 1981 when the first helicopters were acquired they have already logged close to 45000 flight hours. Since 1998 they belong to the 4th TEAS which operates with a total of seven types of aerial vehicles. Three CH-47D Chinooks, two C-12s and the UH-1H and B-212 helicopters. In 2001, 7 more were acquired, bringing the total to 16, while in 2018, 25 with the supply of 10 American used CH-47s.
The result of the fixation of the older Chinooks is that the new ones in many cases far exceed the planning in flight hours due to the great needs. With their maintenance being carried out every 25, 50, 75 and 100 hours while every 200 flight hours follows a long inspection and maintenance that often lasts even more than 6 months. The figures for years are revealing and show exceeding the MAOP (Maximum Number of Flight Hours) determined by the GES. In fact, at a time when the reduced technical staff is giving the hangars a daily struggle to keep as many helicopters ready for war as possible.