In a bid to continue modernization of its heavy-lift cargo helicopter fleet, the U.S. Army is increasing its order of Boeing (NYSE: BA) CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopters by two aircraft, the aircraft manufacturer announced.
The order increase comes about a year after the service awarded Boeing a $136 million contract for four CH-47F Block II aircraft, which went into production in April. With the $63 million Lot 2 order announced Monday, the Army will now have six of the heavy -lift helicopters under contract.
As part of the deal, the service also signed a separate Lot 3 advance procurement contract valued at $29 million, Boeing said.
“CH-47F Block II improves readiness, limits future sustainment costs, and provides commonality across the fleet,” Ken Eland, Boeing vice president and H-47 program manager, said in a statement.
A Long-Term Partnership
When Boeing launched the CH-47F variant of the historic 61-year-old Chinook helicopter, the goal was to meet evolving military needs. For instance, Boeing said the Block II would have redesigned fuel tanks, a strengthened fuselage, and an improved drivetrain. Those things, the manufacturer said, would allow soldiers to complete heavy-lift mission requirements and position the Chinook for additional future upgrades.
According to Boeing, each CH-47F can hold 1,034 gallons of fuel, achieve a maximum true airspeed of 170 knots, and cruise at 157 knots. They have a 20,000-foot service ceiling and a useful load of 24,000 pounds. That means, with a crew of three—a pilot, copilot, flight engineer, or loadmaster—the CH47F can carry between 33-55 troops, or 24 stretchers, and three attendants.
Up front, pilots have Collins Aerospace [NYSE: RTX] Common Avionics Architecture System, known as CAAS. Pilots can tap into some of the latest glass cockpit features Collins’ CAAS offers.
Some include tactical displays optimized for cargo lift, heavy assault, multi-mission roles, or even a recent upgrade that offers an advanced flight management system. The new FMS provides both certified required navigation performance (RNP) for area navigation and tactical navigation capabilities.
‘The Best Option for the Army’
“We’re dedicated to making CH-47F Block II the best option for the Army’s heavy-lift mission, now and well into the future,” Boeing’s Eland said.
Boeing has delivered more than 1,000 Chinooks to the U.S. Army over its 60-year partnership. Moreover, 19 allied countries use the platform to support their multi-missions, including equipment and troop transport, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief. Boeing says the Chinook program supports more than 20,000 jobs and 360 suppliers in 40 states.