100th F model Chinook
The Army proudly accepted the 100th CH-47F model Chinook July 22 at a commemorative ceremony at the Boeing plant facility in Philadelphia, Pa. A commemorative print signified the event and was given to attendees. From left to right: Col. Bob Marion, project manager for cargo helicopters; Brig. Gen. Tim Crosby, program executive officer for aviation; Lt. Col. Brad Killen, product manager for the CH-47F; Navy Capt. Steve Labows, commander, Defense Contract Management Agency Boeing, Philadelphia; and Lt. Gen. William Phillips, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.

PHILADELPHIA (July 26, 2010) -- The 100th F Model Chinook rolled out of the Boeing facility during a ceremony commemorating the milestone and the Army's acceptance of the aircraft at the Boeing plant in Philadelphia, Pa., July 22.

More than 2,500 Boeing employees gathered inside the flight deck hangar to join in the commemoration.

Lt. Gen. Williams Phillips, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology credited the Chinook for its reliability in air assault, transport and support operations.

"It has an incredible capability," Phillips said, adding that the F model is not the Chinook he knew and flew before.

Phillips said the important reason behind the success of the CH-47F is the people, the employees who make it their career to provide the Army with the world's best medium/heavy lift helicopter.

"There's a heritage within this plant, which is extraordinary," said Phillips. He remarked about the generations of workers who have passed their experience and expertise to new employees working on the CH-47F. Some workers have been working on Chinooks since its inception in the 1950s. He credited their hard work and dedication for the aircraft's reliability in air assault, transportation and support operations.

Col. Bob Marion, project manager for cargo helicopters, said he was impressed with the working relationship he has seen in Team Chinook. About 350,000 parts make up the CH-47F Chinook, he said, "but they're just parts until the people make it into a CH-47F."

Brig. Gen. Tim Crosby, program executive officer for aviation, told the employees that they are the faceless heroes behind the success of Soldiers in combat. "They don't know who you are, but they have the confidence to face hell," said Crosby. "They love you, even though they don't know you. Be proud of that."

The CH-47F features a newly designed, modernized airframe; Common Avionics Architecture System, or CAAS cockpit; and Digital Automatic Flight Control System, called DAFCS. The CAAS greatly improves aircrew situational awareness, and DAFCS provides dramatically improved flight-control capabilities through the entire flight envelope, significantly improved performance, and safety in the harshest of environments.

The first CH-47F model with a Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System cockpit and a Digital Automatic Flight Control system, as well as a new airframe, was certified as combat-ready in 2007. CAAS also incorporates an advanced digital map display and a data-transfer system that allows storing of preflight and mission data. Improved survivability features include the Common Missile Warning and Improved Countermeasure Dispenser systems.

During his remarks, Phillips referred to the National Geographic Movie, "Restrepo", named after Pfc. Juan Restrepo. The feature-length documentary chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, a place where some of the harshest fighting in Afghanistan took place, said Phillips. He said that within the documentary there are scenes where Chinook helicopters are bringing supplies such as food, water, and ammunition to COP Restrepo.

"The Chinook provides a lifeline to our Soldiers," said Phillips. "There are Soldiers who are alive today because of the dedication of this team."

Phillips added that of 2,600 missions, less than 2 percent have required a replacement craft to complete a mission. Readiness rates in theater exceed 80 percent, and mission-failure rates are almost zero. The current rotation has flown more than 20,400 flight hours and more than 2,600 missions.

Since the completion of the first CH-47F Chinook in August 2006, six U.S. Army units have been trained and equipped and the seventh unit is due early next year.

Five units have completed deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the helicopter logged nearly 50,000 flight hours and maintained an operational readiness rate over 80 percent conducting air assault, transport and support operations.

Plans are underway at Boeing to implement a $130-million renovation that will enable the Ridley Township factory to gradually increase production levels from the current four aircraft per month to a new rate of six aircraft per month in 2012.

Crosby said that it seemed like yesterday when he was then product manager, then project manager for the CH-47F when Team Chinook argued about wiring, diagrams and schedules. He commented about how far they have come since the idea days.

"Because of this team, the Army has a brand new airframe," Crosby said. "Be proud of everything that you do for the Army."

Page last updated Fri July 23rd, 2010 at 14:01