Boeing has achieved a major Chinook milestone following the loading of the very first CH-47F Block II model into final assembly.
The contract to develop the next-generation Chinook for the US Army’s conventional and Special Operations Forces was awarded to Boeing in July 2017. The Block II program incorporates several upgrades to boost lift capability, including Advanced Chinook Rotor Blades, an enhanced fuselage, new fuel system, and new drivetrain. These upgrades will greatly increase the commonality between US Army and allied fleets, meaning reduced maintenance costs.
“The CH-47F Block II represents tomorrow’s heavy lift readiness for the United States Army and her allied partners,” said Colonel Greg Fortier, US Army Project Manager for Cargo Helicopters. “Whether it is increasing total payload, improving the transmission, advancing the Chinook rotor blade, or setting the conditions for supervised autonomous flight, this aircraft provides ground tactical commanders immense capability to win in the multi-domain battle.”
“Our progress from contract award to final assembly in less than a year is a direct result of the efficiency and reliability of the program,” added Chuck Dabundo, Vice President of Boeing Cargo Helicopters and H-47 Program Manager. “Block II upgrades will help keep Chinooks in operation for the U.S. Army into the 2060s.”
Somewhat surprisingly, the Block II Program has progressed from contract award to final assembly in just 11 months. The first Block II aircraft is expected to complete in 2019, with flight testing scheduled shortly after. The first delivery is expected to be made in 2023. Eventually, the army will upgrade more than 500 Chinooks to the new configuration.
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