Aug 16, 2007 Boeing has announced that its new CH-47F Chinook helicopter has been certified combat-ready by the U.S. Army and fielded to the first operational unit. Since being first unveiled in mid 2006, the new Chinook has successfully completed 60 rigorous flight test hours including simulated mission scenarios.

The latest addition to the Army's aviation fleet features a newly designed, modernized airframe, a Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit and a BAE Digital Advanced Flight Control System (DAFCS).

CAAS greatly improves air crew situational awareness and 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 pre-flight 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.

"The CH-47F is a next-generation aircraft that provides greater safety, mission management and situational awareness for our soldiers," said Jack Dougherty, director, Boeing H-47 Programs. "This represents a milestone in Army aviation."

Since Boeing unveiled the aircraft at its Ridley Park, Pa., production facility in June 2006, the new Chinook has completed operational testing at Ft. Campbell, including more than 60 rigorous flight test hours that simulated mission scenarios, air assault, combat re-supply and transport operations.

The aircraft has been assigned to Bravo Company ("Varsity"), 7th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), based at Ft. Campbell, Ky.

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