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