Boe­ing to Modernise, Add Mus­cle to NextGen­er­a­tion Chi­nook

India Strategic - - INDUSTRY -

PHILADEL­PHIA. Boe­ing will build and test three US Army CH47F Block II Chi­nook he­li­copters as part of a mod­erni­sa­tion ef­fort that will likely bring another two decades of work to the com­pany’s Philadel­phia site, a com­pany press state­ment said July 28.

A re­cent $ 276 mil­lion Army con­tract will fund those he­li­copters, which will val­i­date tech­nol­ogy ad­vance­ments that will in­crease the iconic he­li­copter’s lift­ing power. “The Army’s only heavy-lift he­li­copter ex­ists to de­liver de­ci­sive com­bat power for our ground com­man­ders,” said Col. Greg Fortier, US Army project man­ager for Cargo He­li­copters. “In­creas­ing pay­load ca­pac­ity en­hances bat­tle­field agility and pre­pares the Chi­nook for even greater per­for­mance gains in the fu­ture.”

An im­proved drive train will trans­fer greater power from the en­gines to the all-new, swept-tip Ad­vanced Chi­nook Ro­tor Blades, which have been en­gi­neered to lift 1,500 ad­di­tional pounds on their own. The cur­rent con­fig­u­ra­tion of six fuel tanks – three on each side – will be­come two, al­low­ing the air­craft to carry more fuel and shed weight. Ad­di­tion­ally, the fuse­lage’s struc­ture will be strength­ened in crit­i­cal ar­eas to al­low the air­craft to carry ad­di­tional pay­load.

“This lat­est up­grade for the Chi­nook fleet is a trib­ute to the ro­bust­ness of its orig­i­nal de­sign and ex­em­pli­fies its 55- year legacy of tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments,” said Chuck Dabundo, vice pres­i­dent, Cargo He­li­copters and pro­gramme man­ager, H-47. “The fact that the US Army con­tin­ues to use and value this plat­form and they are in­tend­ing to con­tinue to up­grade it to keep it fly­ing for decades to come is a tes­ta­ment of the ca­pa­bil­i­ties the Chi­nook team con­tin­ues to bring.”

Boe­ing will be­gin build­ing the test air­craft next year. The test pro­gramme be­gins in 2019 and first de­liv­ery of the Block II Chi­nook is ex­pected in 2023. Even­tu­ally, the Army will up­grade more than 500 Chi­nooks to Block II con­fig­u­ra­tion.

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