First Flight of a Production CH-47F Block II

Gepubliceerd op 3 mei 2024 om 15:08

© Boeing Defence

Boeing Defence announced the maiden flight of the first production Block II version of the versatile CH-47F Chinook on 8 April 2024. This new version is slightly faster compared to the legacy CH-47F, but thanks to additional fuel tanks and improved Honeywell T55-715 engines has a much larger range and lift capability.

Plans to also fit the Advanced Chinook Rotor Blades (ACRB) to the Block II version were cancelled by the US Army when persistent vibration problems could not be solved properly during testing. In addition various flight systems have been modernised and digitalised. All in all, it is expected that this will enable the Chinook to remain in service until beyond 2060. Which will be over 100 years since the introduction of the first Chinook into service.

So far, the United States Army was been reluctant to order the latest version of the Chinook in larger numbers. Next to three prototypes, only a limited number of CH-47F Block II helicopters were purchased. Both budget constraints and doubts about the requirements for a new medium lift helicopter were the reasons for this reluctance.

A change of strategy seems to have taken place in February 2024. In that month it was announced to cancel the next generation armed scout project, which will free up budget for other projects. Even though not yet confirmed, it is believed this will include full rate production orders for the CH-47F Block II.

For the Special Forces Command, similar reservations were never a factor and they plan to operate a fleet of 69 MH-47G Block II helicopters in the future. Conversion of the legacy MH-47G to the Block II variant is already well underway.

Boeing Defense released a small video of the first flight of the CH-47F Block II on their X (Twitter) page. Unfortunately, the new helicopters have been painted in the dark green camouflage scheme.

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