CH-47 Medium Lift Helicopter
What is it?
The Chinook cargo helicopter (CH-47) is a twin-turbine, tandem-rotor, medium lift transport helicopter with a useful load of up to 25,000 pounds. The Chinook entered Army service in the early 1960s with a CH-47A, B, and C model designations. In 1980, the early model aircraft were remanufactured to the current CH-47D configuration with the last CH-47Ds manufactured in 1993. Today, 46 percent of the Army's CH-47D fleet was originally manufactured prior to 1966. As the Army’s only medium lift helicopter, the mission of the CH-47 is to transport troops (including air assault troops), supplies, weapons, and other cargo in combat, and to assist in combat support and service support operations.
What has the Army done?
Similar to the CH-47D, the CH-47F model underwent key modifications, including a new airframe, an upgraded T55-GA-714A engine to restore performance capability, Common Avionics Architecture System, Air Warrior, Common Missile Warning System, enhanced air transportability, digital automatic flight control system, and an Extended Range Fuel System II for self-deployment missions. The CH-47F also incorporates reliability and maintainability improvements, including airframe tuning for vibration reduction, corrosion protection, digital source collectors, and a 400-hour phase interval.
The CH-47F program received full rate production approval on Nov. 22, 2004. Currently on contract for 95 CH-47F aircraft, first deliveries occurred in November 2006. The first CH-47F unit was fully equipped on July 20, 2007.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The CH-47F is expected to remain the Army’s heavy lift helicopter until at least the 2020 to 2025 timeframe. The total CH-47 program remanufactures CH-47Ds and the Special Operations Aviation version, MH-47s, to the CH-47F/MH-47G configuration and procures newly built CH-47F aircraft to meet the Army Aviation Transformation full requirement for Chinook aircraft.
Why is this important to the Army?
With its high altitude and payload capability, the CH-47 is vital to the Global War on Terrorism and the homeland security needs of the nation. Secondary missions include medical evacuation, aircraft recovery, parachute drops, disaster relief, and search and rescue. These aircraft are fielded to medium helicopter companies and Special Operations Aviation. The CH-47F recapitalization program will provide a more reliable, less costly to operate aircraft compatible with Joint digital connectivity requirements in the future force with an extended life of approximately 20 years.