U.S. Army Chinook helicopters undergo modernization effort to increase lifting power

PHILADELPHIA. U.S. Army officials tasked Boeing to build and test three Army CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopters as part of a modernization effort. The contract is valued at $276 million and is expected to validate technology advancements that will increase the helicopter’s lifting power.

"The Army's only heavy-lift helicopter exists to deliver decisive combat power for our ground commanders," says Col. Greg Fortier, U.S. Army project manager for Cargo . "The Cargo family is anxious to build upon Col. Rob Barrie's efforts to establish this critical program and deliver an adaptive air vehicle. Increasing payload capacity today enhances battlefield agility and prepares the Chinook for even greater performance gains in the future."

An improved drivetrain will transfer greater power from the engines to the all-new, swept-tip Advanced Chinook Rotor Blades, which have been engineered to lift 1,500 additional pounds on their own. The current configuration of six fuel tanks – three on each side – will become two, allowing the aircraft to carry more fuel and shed weight. Additionally, the fuselage’s structure will be strengthened in critical areas to allow the aircraft to carry additional payload.

The effort is expected to bring another two decades of work to the company's Philadelphia site, officials say. will begin building the test aircraft next year. The test program begins in 2019 and first delivery of the Block II Chinook is expected in 2023.

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