Boeing has started final assembly of the first Block 2 Chinook helicopter for the US Army.
Boeing is to produce three CH-47F Block 2 prototypes for engineering and manufacturing development at its facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as part of a contract awarded a year ago.
Col. Greg Fortier, US Army project manager for Cargo Helicopters said, “The CH-47F Block 2 represents tomorrow’s heavy lift readiness for the United States Army and her allied partners. Whether it is increasing total payload, improving the transmission, advancing the Chinook rotor blade, or setting the conditions for supervised autonomous flight, this aircraft provides ground tactical commanders immense capability to win in the multi-domain battle.”
The Block 2 program makes several upgrades to the heavy lift Chinook including an increase in lift capability and the use of new rotor blades, fuselage, fuel system, and drivetrain. The updates increase the commonality between US Army and allied fleets to reduce maintenance costs, said Boeing.
Chuck Dabundo, vice president of Boeing Cargo Helicopters and H-47 program manager said, “Our progress from contract award to final assembly in less than a year is a direct result of the efficiency and reliability of the program. The Block II upgrades will help keep Chinooks in operation for the U.S. Army into the 2060s.”
The first Block II aircraft is expected to be completed in 2019, with flight testing scheduled shortly thereafter. First delivery is expected in 2023. Eventually, the US Army will upgrade more than 500 Chinooks to the new configuration.