Boeing has marked the 50th anniversary of its CH-47 Chinook helicopter and says it believes the workhorse transport – already its longest running production program — will be around for another 50 years.
More than 1,200 Chinooks have been delivered to 18 operators since the first was handed over to the US Army on August 16 1962. Some 800 Chinooks are currently in service, including seven CH-47Ds operated by the Australian Army. The ADF plans to replace those with newer-model CH-47Fs from 2016.
Boeing says it is nearing completion on a $130 million renovation of its Chinook production line near Philadelphia, which the company says will help it meet demand for the CH-47F. Boeing is scheduled to deliver nearly 60 Chinooks this year and has submitted a multiyear, firm fixed-price proposal to the US military to provide 155 CH-47Fs beginning in 2015.
“The Chinook has served as the backbone of US Army aviation since the Vietnam era, revolutionising how we move troops and supplies in combat, and save lives and deliver aid in times of need,” said Col Bob Marion, US Army Cargo Helicopter program manager.
“The latest F-model has ushered in a new era of heavy-lift capability for the US Army. With continued technology insertions, I fully expect that 50 years from now there will be a centennial celebration for Chinooks still in service.”