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Fri, Feb 29, 2008

Boeing Awarded US Army Contract For 11 New CH-47F Chinooks

Orders For Venerable Twin-Rotor Lifter Raised To 59

Boeing announced Thursday it was awarded a $280.5 million US Army contract for 11 new CH-47F Chinook helicopters, increasing the number of new Chinooks on contract to 59. Aircraft deliveries under this award will begin in 2011.

"This new contract award represents a long-term commitment to supporting our warfighters," said Ken Eland, Boeing CH-47F program director. "Our commitment is to continue the high level of quality and performance we established in 2007."

Since Boeing unveiled the aircraft at its Ridley Township, PA production facility in June 2006, Boeing says the latest variant to the erstwhile Chinook has successfully completed all evaluations, including airworthiness, functional and operational testing at Fort Campbell, KY. Units also have completed more than 1,000 flight hours, including Joint Readiness Training Center training and a wide range of night-vision-goggle training exercises that simulated air assault, combat resupply and transport operations.

The CH-47F helicopter features a modernized airframe, a Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit and a BAE Digital Advanced Flight Control System (DAFCS). The CAAS cockpit greatly improves aircrew situational awareness, while DAFCS provides dramatically improved flight control capabilities through features such as "hover hold," "altitude hold" and "beep down" that improve performance and safety in brownout situations as well as the entire flight envelope.

Advanced avionics also incorporate improved situational awareness for flight crews with an advanced digital map display and a data transfer system that allows storing of preflight and mission data.

Improved survivability features include Common Missile Warning and Improved Countermeasure Dispenser Systems. The entire suite of improved cockpit capabilities will apply to other H-47 models.

Powered by two 4,868-horsepower Honeywell engines, the new CH-47F can reach speeds greater than 175 mph and transport more than 21,000 pounds. The CH-47F, with the Robertson Aviation Extended Range Fuel System, has a mission radius of more than 400 nautical miles.

As ANN has reported, another Chinook variant -- the HH-47 -- is in competition with offerings from Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky for the US Air Force's Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR-X) contract. The Chinook won the original bid in November 2006, but the Air Force reopened the call for bids last year after protests from the other two companies.



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