As Boeing marks the 50th anniversary of delivering the first H-47 Chinook military helicopter, the company is nearing completion of a $130 million renovation of its production line near Philadelphia that will help it meet global demand for the latest model, the CH-47F.
“The Chinook has served as the backbone of U.S. Army aviation since the Vietnam era, revolutionizing how we move troops and supplies in combat, and save lives and deliver aid in times of need,” said Col. Bob Marion, U.S. Army Cargo Helicopter program manager. “The latest F-model has ushered in a new era of heavy-lift capability for the U.S. Army. With continued technology insertions, I fully expect that 50 years from now there will be a centennial celebration for Chinooks still in service.”
Boeing has delivered more than 1,200 Chinooks to 18 operators around the world since delivering the first to the U.S. Army on Aug. 16, 1962. More than 800 are in operation today, conducting combat, cargo transport and humanitarian relief missions.
“Chinook is Boeings longest continuously running production program, and its in greater demand today than ever before,” said Leanne Caret, vice president, Vertical Lift and H-47 Programs. “Chinooks are being delivered on schedule and operating at a higher rate than any time in history, thanks to our team’s innovation, efficiency, and focus on meeting our customers’ needs.”
Boeing said the production line updates would enable it to continue to affordably increase Chinook production rates. The company is scheduled to deliver nearly 60 Chinooks this year and has submitted a multiyear, firm fixed-price proposal to the Department of Defense to provide 155 CH-47Fs to the U.S. Army with deliveries beginning in 2015.