The US Army is looking to renew production of the Boeing MH-47G Chinook special mission helicopter in an upgraded Block 2 configuration, it disclosed on 3 August.
With production of the final eight Block 1 MH-47Gs set to be complete by the end of the year, the US Army Aviation Integration Directorate is proposing the resumption of production after this date to deliver an undisclosed number of additional MH-47G helicopters in a Block 2 configuration, according to a solicitation posted on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) website.
The US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) currently fields 61 remanufactured Block 1 MH-47Gs (62 were delivered – 35 CH-47Ds, nine MH-47Ds and 18 MH-47Es – although one was lost on operations in Afghanistan). The USASOC is to receive the additional eight new-build MH-47Gs by the end of 2015 to offset the fleet’s high operational tempo.
Two items of interest here. First, the new build G models. The Chinook fleet overall is in very good shape, with new F models replacing the D fleet. The F models (and the G models) are rebuilds of D models. Which, most of the D models were rebuilt from earlier models. I would be curious to know which Chinook out there is the oldest, when it actually rolled off the production line the first time. Over the years, however, attrition has reduced the total inventory enough that some new builds are required.
Second, at the bottom of the linked article, there’s talk about a new Advanced Chinook Helicopter blade, which promises to use somewhat different geometry. How that will work, I don’t know. The new blades offer in increase in payload of a whopping six tons or so!