Easing Reliance On 40-Year Old Airframes
Boeing says it has started production on the new CH-47F Chinook
heavy-transport helicopter as part of the US Army Cargo Helicopter
"The inclusion of the new airframe in the remanufacture program
will greatly reduce required maintenance on the existing Chinook
airframes, which in some cases are almost 40 years old," said Col.
Tim Crosby, US Army Product manager for the Chinook.
The new airframe is constructed utilizing advanced manufacturing
techniques where large single piece components replace built-up
sheet metal structures and aluminum honeycomb formers. These
components reduce operating and support costs while improving the
structural integrity of the aircraft, extending the overall useful
life of each Chinook.
Structural improvements include air transportability
modifications, which reduce time necessary to prepare the aircraft
for cargo transport and advanced corrosion protection. In addition,
the implementation of lean manufacturing processes on the factory
floor and use of employee involvement teams have reduced
manufacturing costs and improved production efficiency.
"Utilizing today's technology expands the range of improvements
in this aircraft," said Jack Dougherty, Boeing Chinook program
director. "This configuration with the Army's Common Aviation
Architecture System cockpit makes the Chinook fully compliant with
digital battlefield requirements and allows for greater and easier
growth in systems."
Improved avionics provide enhanced situational awareness for
flight crews with an advanced digital map display and a data
transfer system, which allows storing preflight and mission data.
The Digital Advanced Flight Control System (DAFCS) replaces the
existing analog system, allowing future expansion. Survivability
features include a Common Missile Warning and Improved
Countermeasure Dispenser Systems.
Powered by Honeywell T55-GA-714A engines, the new aircraft has
4,868 horsepower from each of its twin engines, enabling it to
reach speed in excess of 175 mph and provides the capability to
transport up to 21,016 lbs. With its internal auxiliary fuel tanks,
the CH-47F is capable of a mission radius greater than 400