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CH-47 Chinook Helicopter

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.

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CH-47 Chinook Helicopter Model Upgrades

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
  • modularized hydraulics
  • advanced flight control system
  • improved avionics

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).

Characteristics of the CH-47 Chinook are:

Rotor diameter59' 1.25" (A & B); 60' (C)
Length98' 3.75" (A & B); 99' (C)
Basic weight18,500 lbs. (A); 19,194 lbs. (B); 19,772 lbs. (C)
Payload10, 114 lbs. (A); 15,900 lbs. (B); 19, 100 lbs. (C)
External cargo16,000 lbs. (A); 20,000 lbs. (B); 22,700 lbs. (C)
Cruise airspeed110k (A); 140k (B); 150k (C)
Maximum airspeed130k (A); 165k (B & C)
Armament7.62-mm door-mounted machine gun

CH-47F Improved Cargo Helicopter

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.

U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook Helicopter delivering 105-mm howitzer (towed) with ammunition pallet, Vietnam
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
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
CH-47F cockpit with computer displays replacing traditional "steam gauges" and with a color map of the helicopter's course, 19 January 2005.

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