Boeing and the US Army Aviation and Missile Command have signed the first Low Rate Initial Production contract valued at about $140 million to convert seven CH-47 Chinooks to the new CH-47F and MH-47G Special Operations configurations.
The contract covers the first production lot of a modernisation program that will include at least 300 Chinooks over the next 13 years.
Work on the first aircraft begins this month, with the first CH-47F delivery scheduled for Sept. 2004. The remaining six aircraft in the first lot will be converted to MH-47G Special Operations Chinooks and delivered in 2004 and 2005.
The modification to the CH-47’s involves the removal of existing cockpit sections for replacement with newly manufactured subassemblies and full inspection of all structural elements and replacement of components as required.
Both CH-47F and MH-47G Chinooks will incorporate ‘tuned’ fuselages to reduce the effects of vibration on aircrews, structures and avionic systems. Both aircraft will also incorporate advanced cockpit management systems.
The CH-47F cockpit contains a digital mission management suite with a moving map display and digital modem. The MH-47G will utilise the US Army’s advanced Common Avionics Architecture applicable to all Special Operations rotorcraft.
In addition, the contract includes installation of more powerful and fuel-efficient Honeywell T55-GA-714A engines with Full Authority Digital Engine Control.
Boeing Integrated Defense Systems will manage the program at the Rotorcraft Enterprise Capability Center in Philadelphia.