What’s in­side the CH-47F Chi­nook for In­dia?


The CH-47F Chi­nook be­ing con­fig­ured to In­dian Air Force spec­i­fi­ca­tions is all set to be a for­mi­da­ble spe­cial heavylift ca­pa­bil­ity he­li­copter. The 15 chop­pers, once de­liv­ered will be part of a sin­gle he­li­copter unit, with the coun­try ex­pected to ex­er­cise op­tions for more he­li­copters from Boe­ing’s Philadel­phia fa­cil­ity where the Chi­nook is built.

The CH-47F pro­gramme be­gin of­fi­cially in the mid-2000s and in­volves a mix of a brand new air­craft as well as re­newed older air­frames to the F stan­dard. In­dia’s choice of the CH-47F was a con­sid­ered one, given it had for­mi­da­ble com­pe­ti­tion from the Mi-26T2, a mod­ernised version of a plat­form the IAF al­ready de­ploys from Chandi­garh. For starters, the CH-47F in­volves all new com­po­nents across the board, new ma­chined frames, cor­ro­sion pro­tec­tion and air­frame tun­ing of the kind not done on any ear­lier vari­ant. Th­ese changes have been prin­ci­pally a re­sult of feed­back from com­bat units op­er­at­ing ear­lier vari­ants of the Chi­nook in com­bat the­atres in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001-02. (The first com­bat-ready CH-47F was de­ployed in July 2007.) The im­prove­ments and changes to the he­li­copter, there­fore, are al­most sin­gu­larly in keep­ing with a warfighter re­quire­ment. For in­stance, the F vari­ant in­cludes im­proved jet­ti­son­able doors, sol­dier­fo­cused lo­gis­tics, im­proved avion­ics and flight con­trols.

The CH-47F is built around a newly de­signed, im­proved mono­lithic-ma­chined air­frame. It’s pow­ered by twin Honey­well en­gines, each gen­er­at­ing 4,733 horse­power. Th­ese en­gines and tan­dem ro­tor de­sign al­low the Chi­nook to op­er­ate at speeds of more than 175 mph (280 kilo­me­tres per hour) and give it the abil­ity to trans­port more than 21,000 pounds (9,525 kilo­grams) of ma­te­rial and sol­diers. Along with more brawn, the F-model fea­tures new brains com­pared to the ear­lier CH-47D. Apart from the new Rock­well Collins Com­mon Avion­ics Ar­chi­tec­ture Sys­tem (CAAS), there’s a BAE-de­signed Dig­i­tal Ad­vanced Flight Con­trol Sys­tem which will give IAF crew vastly im­proved sit­u­a­tional aware­ness and sub­stan­tially bet­ter flight-con­trol ca­pa­bil­i­ties. That trans­lates into im­proved per­for­mance and safety in the harsh­est op­er­at­ing en­vi­ron­ments. CAAS also in­cor­po­rates an ad­vanced dig­i­tal map dis­play and a data trans­fer sys­tem to al­low for mis­sion man­age­ment and mis­sion changes in flight.

Sev­eral engi­neer­ing im­prove­ments ex­ist on the CH-47F too: a re­designed aft py­lon, re­designed 46 sec­tion and ramp. The elec­tronic

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