June 16, 2006 The first production CH-47F Chinook helicopter was unveiled to the U.S. Army during a rollout ceremony in Ridley Park, Pa. The aircraft is the first of 452 new CH-47F heavy-transport helicopters included in the U.S. Army Cargo Helicopter modernization program. The aircraft features a newly designed, modernized airframe and a Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System advanced digital cockpit to meet the needs of current and future warfighters. Powered by two 4,868-horsepower Honeywell engines, the new CH-47F can reach speeds greater than 175 mph and transport payloads weighing more than 21,000 lbs. The CH-47F, with the Robertson Aviation Extended Range Fuel System, has a mission radius greater than 400 miles.
The new airframe uses modern manufacturing techniques that replace multiple-piece sheet metal structures with single-piece machined components. The new components will reduce operating and support costs, improve the aircraft's structural integrity and extend the Chinook's service life.
The helicopter's advanced avionics provide improved situational awareness for flight crews with an advanced digital map display and a data transfer system that allow storing of preflight and mission data. Additionally, the BAE Digital Advanced Flight Control System replaces a legacy analog system. Improved survivability features include Common Missile Warning and Improved Countermeasure Dispenser Systems.
The Chinook is a multi-mission, heavy-lift transport helicopter. Its primary mission is to move troops, artillery, ammunition, fuel, water, barrier materials, supplies and equipment on the battlefield. Its secondary missions include medical evacuation, disaster relief, search and rescue, aircraft recovery, fire fighting, parachute drops, heavy construction and civil development.
Chinook helicopters were introduced in 1962 as the CH-47 Chinook, and models A, B and C were deployed in Vietnam. As the product of a modernization program, which included refurbishing existing CH-47s, the first CH-47Ds were delivered in 1982 and were produced until 1994. A central element in the Gulf War, they continue to be the standard for the U.S. Army in the global campaign against terrorism. Since its introduction 1,179 Chinooks have been built.