Boeing Defense, Space & Security has a new $139.8-million contract from the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command, to supply four MH-47G Block II Chinook helicopters. Based on the CH-47 Chinook dual-rotor, heavy-lift transport aircraft, the MH-47G is outfitted with advanced avionics for sophisticated communications and maneuverability.
Chinook helicopters are used by the U.S. Army and other military branches, and allied defense forces, mainly for troop transport, artillery placement, and battlefield resupply. SOAC has been using the MH-47G for nearly a decade, and the Army currently has 69 of the aircraft in service.
The new order will incorporate design features associated with the Chinook Block II program update, now in progress for completion after 2020.
“Block II” helicopters will achieve a payload of 22,000 lbs. (10,000 kg) with 4,000 ft. (1,200 m) and 95°F (35°C) “high and hot hover performance,” eventually increasing to 6,000 ft. (1,800 m) to carry a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. Maximum takeoff weight would be raised to 24,500 kg (54,000 lbs.)
The Block II design will include composite-based rotor blades; 20% more powerful Honeywell T55-715 engines; an improved drivetrain that will transfer greater power from the engines to the rotors; and the active parallel actuator system (APAS), which will improve the digital advanced flight-control system by dividing torque precisely between the rotors, for more efficiency.
The new Chinooks also will have a single fuel-cell system that eliminates the need for intracell fuel transfer hardware, reducing the aircraft’s overall weight by 200 lbs. (90 kg) and increasing fuel capacity. Its electrical capacity will be increased by three 60 kVA generators.
“The Army uses the MH-47G for some of its most difficult and challenging missions,” stated Pat Donnelly, Boeing’s director for H-47 domestic and foreign military sale programs. “By incorporating key Block II features we significantly extend the service life, enhance performance, and maintain Chinook’s position as the world’s preeminent special operations helicopter.”