The US DoD has awarded Boeing a contact for the production of four MH-47G Block II Chinooks for the US Army Special Operations Aviation Command, the first production contract for the improved Block II version of the venerable twin-rotor helicopter.
The Block II will add new swept-tip and anhedral rotor blades which provide 1,500 pounds greater lift capacity, an improved drive train, single sponson fuel tanks on each side of the fuselage, and strengthened aft, pylon and nose sections. The upgrade can be applied to existing MH-47Gs and CH-47Fs, or can be new-build aircraft.
“The Army uses the MH-47G for some of its most difficult and challenging missions,” Boeing’s H-47 Domestic and Foreign Military Sale Programs director Pat Donnelly said in a statement. “By incorporating key Block II features we significantly extend the service life, enhance performance, and maintain Chinook’s position as the world’s preeminent special operations helicopter.”
The MH-47G Block II award follows a June contract award to fund engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of the CH-47F Block II program, for which three test aircraft will be built and tested. The EMD aircraft are scheduled to be built in 2019, and a low-rate production decision for the CH-47F Block II is expected in 2021.