CH-47 Modernization

Thursday September 22, 2011

What is it?

The Army has continued to make updates to the Chinook fleet in order to improve combat effectiveness. This includes improvements to the Chinook to make it a more capable and viable asset and to reduce the burden on Soldiers. Modernization efforts for the Chinook helicopter include Infrared Suppression System (IRSS), improved gun mounts, fielding of a commercial portable Global Positioning System solution to meet the need for terrain awareness and collision warning capability, ramp gunner seat, Air Warrior incorporation, Common Missile Warning System (CMWS), engine control upgrades, Extended Range Fuel System II (ERFS II), and crashworthy seats for flight engineers.

The CH-47 Chinook is the U.S. Army's only heavy lift helicopter and continues to be vital to overseas contingency operations (OCO) and our nation's homeland security needs. The Project Office for Cargo Helicopters celebrated the Chinook's 50th anniversary on Sept. 21, 2011, exactly 50 years since the Chinook's first flight.

What has the Army done?

In order to streamline the modernization process, the Product Office for Cargo Helicopters activated the CH-47 Modernization Product Office on Aug. 30, 2011. The office is charged with managing modernization efforts for the Chinook helicopter fleet.

The CH-47F, the newest Chinook model, incorporates key reliability and maintainability improvement modifications, such as a new machined airframe, vibration reduction, digital source collectors, T55-GA-714A engine, Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS), enhanced air transportability, Digital Automatic Flight Control System (DAFCS), and is compatible with joint digital connectivity requirements.

What does the Army have planned for the future?

Upgrading the Army's current fleet is very important for future transport and supply of Soldiers. Modernization efforts continue to be integrated into the Chinook fleet such as replacing the floor with an integrated roller system for easier cargo loading and unloading, implementation of condition based maintenance tools, development of advanced rotor blade configuration to add approximately 2,000 pounds of lift capability in high/hot conditions, avionics upgrades, hostile fire detection and other protection systems.

Why is this important to the Army?

It is absolutely critical for the Army to continue its modernization efforts on this crucial helicopter. No matter what the Army needs to do in the future, from peacekeeping, counterinsurgency, disaster relief or regular warfare, the CH-47 Chinook is vital to missions around the globe. The CH-47 Chinook demonstrates its exceptional capabilities every day in combat operations making it a powerful combat multiplier that saves Soldiers' lives.

Resources:

U.S. Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence

Related STAND-TOs!:
Full Spectrum Aviation
CH-47F Chinook Helicopters

Related articles:
Aviation reset key to sustaining high ops tempo
Future aviators learn to fly CH-47F models at Fort Rucker

Related media: Chinook CH-47 F series

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