Sunday 16 June, 2024
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Boeing secures contract to supply additional Chinooks for US special operations

The US Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOAC) has awarded Boeing a contract worth $271 million to produce six remanufactured MH-47G Block II helicopters. This is part of the US Army’s modernization efforts and brings the total number of MH-47G helicopters under contract with USASOAC to 42.

“The Chinook has been a key player in the special operations domain for many years. USASOAC and international allies have used the unique capabilities of the Chinook to complete the most daring missions around the globe,” said Heather McBryan, vice president and program manager, cargo programs. “With the modernized MH-47G, USASOAC soldiers are well-suited to meet today’s challenging environment.”

Over time, the demands of special operations have grown more intricate, requiring the heavy-lift helicopter to evolve in order to meet these changing needs. The MH-47G Block II program not only satisfies the immediate requirements but also ensures that the Chinook remains relevant and effective in battle for many years to come.

“With the new and improved MH-47G Block II aircraft, USASOAC is not only receiving the most capable Chinook helicopter, they are also provided the flexibility to add additional upgrades as their needs evolve over time,” McBryan added.

Operated by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the MH-47G Chinook is a heavy assault helicopter that is built upon the MH-47E airframe. While maintaining the core structure, fuel system, power train, engines, and performance standards of the MH-47E “Echo” model, the MH-47G incorporates additional structural modifications. These modifications include an extended nose and a new cockpit, which are equipped with advanced technology to enhance its capabilities for special operations missions.

One notable feature of the MH-47G is its integration of the Army special operations aviation specific Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS). This system, which is the first of its kind in the 160th helicopter fleet, combines upgraded software and hardware components. It includes active matrix liquid crystal displays (LCDs), data processing units, and control display units. Together, these elements create a cutting-edge, standardized communication and navigation system for the MH-47G and other aircraft in the 160th SOAR.

In addition to the CAAS, the MH-47G “Gulf” model is equipped with a multi-mode radar system. This radar enables the helicopter to navigate through challenging environments and treacherous terrains with precision. The MH-47G also features a Fast Rope Insertion Extraction System (FRIES), which allows for the rapid insertion and extraction of personnel and equipment during missions.

To ensure its defensive capabilities, the MH-47G is equipped with a defensive armament system. This system includes two M-134 “Minigun” machine guns and one M-60D machine gun. These weapons provide the helicopter with the necessary firepower to counter threats during operations. Additionally, the MH-47G is equipped with an external rescue hoist, further enhancing its ability to conduct rescue missions when required.

Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie
Neil Ritchie is the founder and editor of Neil is also the editor of other online publications covering military history, defence and security. He can be found on Twitter: @NeilRitchie86.

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