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Boeing CH–47 Chinook Specs, Cost, Review, History, and Range. The Boeing CH-47/ MH-47 Chinook is a tandem rotor, twin-engine, heavy-lift helicopter designed to transport artillery, troops, ammunition, fuel and supplies within military theaters of operation. The legacy of the Chinook began in 1958 and continues today with the CH-47F and MH-47G configurations. According to Boeing, since the introduction of the CH-47, 1,179 aircraft have been built. The new CH-47F is powered by two Honeywell T55-GA-714A turboshaft engines with FADEC. The engines are rated at 4,733 shp (each). The CH-47 is built and assembled at Boeing’s production facility in Ridley Park, PA
Boeing CH–47 Chinook Historical Snapshot
In 1960, Boeing bought Vertol Aircraft Co., a helicopter manufacturer in Philadelphia, Pa. The company had three tandem-rotor helicopters under production: the Chinook for the U.S. Army, the Sea Knight for the U.S. Navy and Marines, and the commercial 107-11 for the airlines.
Vertol had started out as the P-V Engineering Forum, owned by Frank Piasecki, which established the “banana shaped” two-rotor helicopter in 1945. Piasecki left the corporation in 1955, and it was renamed Vertol the following year.
The first in the long line of Chinooks was the YHC-1B tandem-rotor transport helicopter that rolled out in 1961. It was designed to serve the U.S. Army and Air Force as a medium-lift helicopter and evolved into several versions.
The first fully equipped Army Chinook, designated the CH-47A, entered service in August 1962 with a gross weight of 33,000 pounds (14,969 kilograms). Boeing introduced the CH-47B in 1966 with an improved airframe and power plant provided by the T55-l-7C engines.
Chinooks were first used in combat in 1965 during the Vietnam conflict. During the last days of the war, one Chinook is reported to have carried 147 refugees in a single lift. CH-47A, B and C models served with until the war’s end in 1975.
The CH-47D Chinook was a central element in U.S. Army operations in the Persian Gulf War. Versions of the D model were also used for export including the “International Chinook” and the SD “Super D,” in all 20 nations have operated various models of the CH-47.
The CH-47F is an advanced multimission helicopter with a fully integrated, digital cockpit management system, Common Avionics Architecture Cockpit and advanced cargo-handling capabilities that complement the aircraft’s mission performance and handling characteristics.
The Army Special Operations Command MH-47G combines many proven Chinook systems and features. Notable among these are fuel tanks providing twice the capacity of the CH-47F and an in-flight refueling system. MH-47Gs are remanufactured on the common MH-47G/ CH-47F production line.
Using the Chinook airframe, Boeing Helicopters also built the Model 234 LINK, the commercial Chinook used for passengers, cargo, oil and gas exploration, and logging.
In 2014, Boeing said that ongoing CH-47F/ MH-47G modernization programs, which include a mix of remanufactured and new aircraft, would ensure that this tandem rotor helicopter remains in the Army fleet through at least the 2030s. Chinooks have served the armed forces of more than 19 international customers and performed in commercial service around the world.
The Chinook is the most reliable and efficient transport helicopter in the world, capable of handling loads of up to 25,000 pounds. The tandem rotor configuration provides exceptional handling qualities enabling the CH-47 to operate in climatic, altitude, and crosswind conditions that keep most other helicopters from flying.
The CH-47F Chinook has a triple hook system, which provides stability to large external loads or the capacity for multiple external loads. Large external loads such as 155mm howitzers can be transported at speeds of up to 162 mph using the triple hook load configuration. Multiple external loads can be delivered to two or three separate destinations in one sortie. CH-47F units have accumulated more than 86,000 combat hours in Afghanistan and maintained an operational readiness rate of over 80%.
New features on the CH-47F (as compared to earlier models) include the digital Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) from Rockwell Collins + modifications to the airframe to reduce vibration. The upgraded CAAS cockpit comes with MFD-268C3 multi-function display units, CDU-7000 control display units, PSM-8600 processor switch modules, and VPM-8600 video processor modules. CAAS also includes a digital data bus that permits installation of enhanced communications and navigation equipment for improved situational awareness, mission performance, and survivability. The CAAS interfaces with the BAE Systems Digital Advanced Flight Control System (DAFCS). The new aircraft uses more powerful Honeywell T55-GA-714A engines that improve fuel efficiency and enhance lift performance. The CH-47F features the AN/ARC -231 Airborne Communication System from Raytheon, which includes two UHF/VHF AM/FM radios. Older Chinooks were equipped with AN/ARC -164 (UHF-AM) and AN/ARC -186 (VHF-AM/FM) radios. The CH-47F is also equipped with two AN/ARC -201 SINCGARS radios, one AN/ARC -220 high frequency radio, and one L-Band BFT transceiver. Other CH-47F equipment includes the AN/APX -123(V) Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder.
The first fully equipped U.S. Army Chinook, the CH-47A, entered service in August 1962 with a gross weight of 33,000 lbs (50,000 pounds for the CH-47F). Boeing introduced the CH-47B in 1966 with an improved airframe and new T55-L-7C engines and a gross weight of 40,000 pounds. The CH-47C was developed in 1967 with T55-L-11 engines and a gross weight capability of 44,000 pounds. The CH-47D was developed in May 1979 with Initial Operational Capability (IOC) achieved in February 1984. The CH-47D has a gross weight capability of 50,000 pounds and is powered by T55-L-712 engines.
The MH-47 is a special forces variant of the CH-47. It is used by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), the largest of the service components that make up U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The MH-47 provides an in-flight refueling capability, a fast-rope rappelling system as well as other upgrades. The MH-47G incorporates all of the new features on the CH-47F.
The CH-47F is expected to remain the Army’s heavy lift helicopter until at least the 2038 timeframe. On June 11, 2013, Boeing was awarded a five-year contract for the production and delivery of 155 CH-47F helicopters with options for 60 additional aircraft. The contract has a total value of $4.9 billion.
Boeing CH–47 Chinook: Armament/Weapons
The CH-47F can be equipped with up to 3x M240 7.62 mm machine guns – one on loading ramp and two at shoulder windows. The MH-47G has four gun stations with two M134 7.62 mm miniguns in the front of the aircraft and two M240D 7.62 mm machine guns in the rear.
Boeing CH–47 Chinook: Production Forecast
A 15-year CH-47 production forecast is available through Forecast International’s Platinum Forecast System, which includes a breakout of total market unit and value statistics by manufacturer and end-user. This real-time service also includes information on all prime and subcontractors, contract awards, worldwide inventories, a complete program history, and a rationale detailing the outlook of the program. A 10-year CH-47 production forecast is also available in report format through Forecast International’s Rotorcraft Forecast service.
Boeing CH–47 Chinook: Mission/Role
The CH-47 Chinook provides a system designed to transport ground forces, supplies, ammunition, and other battle-critical cargo in support of worldwide combat and contingency operations.