As the Army's only heavy lift helicopter, the mission of the CH-47 Chinook Helicopter was to transport troops (including air assault), supplies, weapons, and other cargo in combat, combat support and service support operations.
The CH-47 Chinook Cargo Helicopter (CH-47) is a twin-turbine, tandem-rotor, heavy-lift transport helicopter with a useful load of up to 25,000 pounds. The CH-47 Helicopter was produced in A, B, C and D models, first delivered to the U.S. Army in 1961 and used in A, B or C models.
From 1980 through 1993, the early model CH-47 Chinook helicopters were remanufactured to the CH-47D configuration. In 2005, 46 percent of the Army's CH-47D fleet was originally manufactured prior to 1966.
The CH-47D was rolled-out in March 1979, the result of June 1976 contract for a modernized Chinook. Three airframes, CH-47A, CH-47B, and a CH-47C, were stripped-down to their basic airframes and then rebuilt with improved systems to provide three CH-47D prototypes. Improvements included:
upgraded power plant and rotor transmission
integral lubrication and cooling for the transmission system
fiberglass rotor blades
redesigned cockpit to reduce pilot workload
redundant and improved electrical system
advanced flight control system
The CH-47D is powered by two Allied Signal Engines T55-L-712 3750 shp turboshaft engines and has a maximun speed of 195 mph (170 knots).
The Army's fleet of CH-47D helicopters were upgraded to the CH-47F Improved Cargo Helicopter configurations, and new CH-47F aircraft were procured starting in 2006. The CH-47F improvements list includes:
A new-machined airframe,
An upgraded T55-GA-714A 4,868 hp engine to restore performance capability,
Common Avionics Architecture System,
Air Warrior, Common Missile Warning System,
Enhanced air transportability features,
Digital automatic flight control system (DAFCS), 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 an automated maintenance program with a 400-hour phase interval.
The CH-47F is expected to remain the Army's heavy lift helicopter until at least the 2020-2025 timeframe. The total CH-47 program remanufactures CH-47Ds (and Special Operations Command MH-47D/E) to the CH-47F (or SOC MH-47G) configuration and procures new CH-47F aircraft to meet the Army Aviation transformation full requirement for Chinook aircraft.
U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook Helicopter.
U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook Helicopter delivering 105-mm howitzer (towed) with ammunition pallet, Vietnam.
Troops boarding U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook Helicopters, Vietnam.
CH-47F cockpit with computer displays replacing traditional "steam gauges" and with a color map of the helicopter's course, 19 January 2005.