Helicopter capability - Defence Committee Contents

Memorandum from The Boeing Company


  1.  Boeing is the world's leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft, with capabilities in rotorcraft, electronic and defence systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., Boeing employs more than 160,000 people in more than 70 countries.

  2.  With around 600 employees in the UK Boeing has a long standing relationship dating back over 70 years. Boeing's annual spend in the aerospace industry supports thousands of jobs around the UK, in the process generating intellectual property and facilitating exports.

  3.  The Boeing Company also has an extensive network of industrial and academic partners and suppliers across the UK. Boeing works with a number of universities in the UK and has established multi-year collaborative research and technology relationships with several including Cambridge, Cranfield and Sheffield.


  4.  A subsidiary of The Boeing Company and a business unit of Boeing's Integrated Defence Systems, Boeing Defence UK Ltd. currently has employees at 20 locations throughout the UK supporting Ministry of Defence (MoD) and U.S. military programmes. Boeing Defence UK is strengthening its ability to accommodate future business growth having invested in new facilities and technologies particularly in the systems engineering, sustainment and modelling and simulation domains.

  5.  As a system-of-systems integrator, Boeing Defence UK is positioned to support through-life system-of-systems programme management of complex defence programmes. Along with engineering and integration, as an integrator Boeing Defence UK delivers through-life capability management, through-life technology management, alliance development and supply chain management.

  6.  One such way Boeing Defence UK is delivering capability is through the company's Analysis, Modelling & Simulation facility, The Portal, located in Farnborough with partner QinetiQ. The Portal enables future military hardware and software solutions to be assessed in a variety of operational environments. Comprised of personnel from Boeing Defence UK and QinetiQ, The Portal is tasked with providing a robust experimental architecture including a realistic scenario, detailed mission briefs and, most importantly, a rigorous analysis plan.

  7.  Delivery of military capability is a cornerstone of business for Boeing Defence UK. Boeing's extensive capabilities can be seen in the variety of platforms that are continually enhancing the operational effectiveness of the UK armed forces. From the C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft and the heavy-lift capability of the Chinook, to the Apache AH MK1 attack helicopter, Boeing platforms, and the services provided to support these and other platforms, are making a major contribution to the frontline.


  8.  Boeing originally introduced the Chinook in 1962, and the first models served in the Vietnam War. Since their introduction, new models have been produced, and further upgrades are planned to extend the Chinook helicopter's service life beyond 2030. The Chinook is therefore the longest running continual production programme in The Boeing Company.

  9.  Chinooks have since served around the world, both during conflicts, and increasingly on humanitarian missions such as medical, disaster relief, search and rescue, fire fighting, and civil development. The helicopters are under licensed production by Agusta of Italy and Kawasaki in Japan with aircraft built by Agusta having been exported to Egypt, Greece, Iran, Libya and Morocco.

  10.  The RAF operates the third largest fleet of Chinook support helicopters. The Chinook Wing, which forms the heavy-lift element of the Joint Helicopter Command, is based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire. The Chinooks can carry 10 tonnes of freight or 54 troops, as well as underslung loads, and the cabin is large enough to accommodate two Land Rovers. RAF Chinooks are also used in Search and Rescue and Casualty Evacuation, and can carry a total of 24 stretchers. The aircraft has an unsurpassed "hot and high" capability making it particularly well suited to operations in Afghanistan.


  11.  Description & Purpose: The UK Chinook Through Life Customer Support (TLCS) programme is a performance-based logistics agreement with the UK Ministry of Defence, Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) organisation that provides heavy maintenance, engineering technical support, supply chain management including spares forecasting and procurement, aircraft and component repairs, publications management, and modification services for the UK's fleet of 40 Mk2/2a Chinook helicopters.

  12.  The UK Chinook TLCS programme guarantees to provide 27 aircraft available on a daily basis. Out of those aircraft, Boeing has exceeded serviceability goals with greater than 95 percent serviceable and ready to support RAF operations. Boeing has partnered with Vector Aerospace (formerly, the UK MoD Defence Aviation and Repair Agency) to capitalize on local resources while infusing Boeing technical and lean expertise into UK Chinook operations to improve the helicopter fleet's readiness while reducing costs.

  13.  Customer: The UK Chinook Integrated Product Team (CHIPT) is based at RNAS Yeovilton in southwest England. The contract or "Partnering Agreement" with Boeing is through 2040, with pricing negotiated in five-year increments. Boeing and the CHIPT also have aspirations to grow the TLCS scope to include engines and avionics making Boeing TLCS the single point of accountability.

  14.  Strategic Value: TLCS is the first major international, direct commercial sale, performance-based-logistics programme for Boeing Global Services & Support. The MoD is using TLCS as a benchmark for future performance-based support contracts. Boeing's TLCS performance will be considered in future platform acquisitions as well as expansion for AH-64 Apache FSA, and other future support programs. TLCS is also being watched by the Netherlands and Canada for their prospective Chinook support programmes. Boeing is also promoting this type of support approach for the US Army Chinook fleet.

  15.  Performance/Key Milestones: Boeing has exceeded programme serviceability (mission capability) and aircraft availability goals for the last 13 months. Boeing assumed full supply chain responsibility for the UK Chinooks on 17 October 2007. On 14 December 2007 Boeing and representatives from the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence signed a $115 million contract to reconfigure eight Mk3 Chinook helicopters to current Mk2 flight standards. As the MK3 aircraft enter service in 2009, they will also be supported under the TLCS programme.

  16.  Apache Integrated Operational Support (AIOS) is a similar PBL programme developed specifically for the UK Apache attack helicopter fleet. Boeing Defence UK is supporting the evaluation of AIOS alongside its current support contracts with AgustaWestland. The partnership experienced on programmes such as Apache and Chinook and capabilities such as The Portal is not only critical to Boeing's success but to the success of the customer.


  17.  In the words of the Committee's terms of reference, this submission has sought to provide information on current procurement and maintenance projects and in particular, the UK Chinook Through Life Customer Support (TLCS) programme. TLCS has been a very effective way of providing performance-based support for the UK Chinook fleet and is being reviewed as a model for future performance support programmes.

3 April 2009

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