Rotorcraft Update: Boeing reveals yet another Chinook model
In a development that speaks volumes about the ongoing state of new helicopter technology development in America today, Boeing on July 12 revealed the 13th iteration of its much modified, through many variants and sub-variants, military CH-47 Chinook, ironically unveiling the new helicopter on the 40th anniversary year of the first flight of the number-one Chinook prototype. The trademark twin-rotor heavy lifter, a design that was the brainchild of helo pioneer Frank Piasecki, first took to the skies at Boeing Helicopter’s Philadelphia plant on Sept. 21, 1961. Plans call for Boeing to modernize 300 of the U.S. Army’s fleet of Chinooks to F-model standards. This modernization will include aircraft remanufacturing, vibration reduction, improved avionics (with integrated digital mission management systems and a digital map) and installation of more powerful Honeywell T55-GA-14A-714 turboshafts. The intention is to create a transport helicopter that will serve until 2033; in other words keeping in service a basic design that, at the end of that period, will be more than 70 years old.