Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Boeing will upgrade Spain's fleet of CH-47D Chinook helicopters to the F-model configuration, the Chicago-based company announced Thursday.
The upgrades to the country's 17's CH-47D Chinook helicopters will add a digital automatic flight control system, a common avionics architecture system and improved cargo handling, among other features, Boeing said in a news release. Boeing said it plans to make its first delivery to Spain in 2021.
The deal with Spain falls under a $181.3 million contract Boeing secured with the U.S. Defense Department in July. That contract calls for the U.S. military's purchase of up to 156 Multi-Year II Block I CH-47F Chinook helicopters.
Variations of the Chinook have been in use by the U.S. military since 1962, though the aircraft series has gone through a number of upgrades and overhauls.
The upgraded CH-47F model is primarily used among the U.S. Army and its allied nations to transport troops and large loads. The twin-engine tandem-rotor heavy-lift transport helicopter is capable of operating at speeds faster than 175 mph and over long-range flights.
"The Chinook is a versatile aircraft flown by eight NATO nations, including Spain," Chuck Dabundo, vice president for Cargo and Utility Helicopters and H-47 program manager, said in Boeing's news release. "With this contract, Spain's Chinook crews will enjoy the platform's current technology and capability, while the country gets an affordable upgrade that builds on its existing H-47 investment."