The most recognized transport helicopter in the world, the CH-47 Chinook helicopter debuted in 1962 when its A, B, and C models were deployed in support of the Vietnam War. Since its introduction, 1,179 Chinooks have been produced. The CH-47D Chinook developed by Boeing is currently used by the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve, and National Guard. To ensure that the proven Chinook remains operational in the Army’s fleet until 2030, the Army instilled the U.S. Army Modernization Program which calls for 525 Chinooks made of a combination of 464 New-Build and Renew CH-47F models and 61 M-47G Remanufactured special forces models. In July 2007, the new tandem rotor medium-lift CH-47F was certified to be combat-ready by the Army and was commissioned to the first operational unit.
For its cargo systems, the Chinook is equipped with a triple-hook system to stabilize multiple large external loads. This triple-hook configuration can transport 155mm howitzers at speeds of 260 kilometers an hour. The central hook of the Goldsboro, North Carolina-based AAR Corp.system is certified to carry up to 12,000kilograms, and the other two hooks are rated at 7,500 kilograms each.
Being a transport helicopter, the Chinook possesses a large cabin providing 42 cubic feet of cargo space and 21 square meters of cargo floor area. It can accommodate two high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) or an HMMWV coupled with a 105mm howitzer and its gun crew. The main cabin houses 33 to 50 fully-equipped personnel, as dictated by seating arrangements. For medevac missions, the Chinook cabin can house 24 litters/stretchers. With an optional power-down ramp and water dam configuration, the Chinook can carry out ramp operations on water.
For sensors, the Chinook is integrated with the Raytheon AN/APQ-174A advanced radar system which performs ground mapping and air-to-ground ranging for terrain-following flight. Raytheon also has its AN/AAQ-16 forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system put into the nose of the aircraft and outfits the cockpit with a moving map display.
For countermeasures, the Chinook is fitted with a Rockwell Collins CP1516-ASQ target hand-off system. The MH-47E special forces variant of the Chinook evades hostile forces via the Northrop Grumman ALQ-162 Shadowbox jammer, ATK AN/AAR-47 missile approach warner, ITT ALQ-136(V) pulse jammer, BAE Systems M-130 chaff and flare dispenser, and the Raytheon APR-39A radar warner. The Chinook is mounted with three machine guns—two in the crew door on the starboard side and one window-mounted on the port side.
The general characteristics of the CH-47D/F Chinook are as follows:
|Length||Fuselage – 52.0 feet (15.9 meters); Including rotors – 99.0 feet (30.18 meters)|
|Width||12.42 feet (3.78 meters)|
|Rotor Diameter||60 feet (18.29 meters)|
|Height||18.92 feet (5.77 meters)|
|Propulsion||Two Honeywell T55-GA-714A engines, 4,777 shp (3,529 kW)|
|Maximum Speed||170 kt (315 km/h)|
|Fuel||1,034 gallons (3,914 L)|
|Service Ceiling||20,000 feet|
|Useful Load||24,000 lbs. (10,866 kg)|
|Mission Radius||200 nm (370.4 km)|
|Maximum Gross Weight||50,000 lbs. (22,680 kg)|
|Empty Weight||23,401 lbs.|
|Mission||Transport of troops, artillery, ammunition, fuel, supplies, water in support of combat operations, and civil and humanitarian relief|
|Service Customer||U.S. Army, in service since 1962|