The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Boeing an undefinitised contract action to protect the production delivery schedule of the MH-47G Chinook helicopter, as it looks to satisfy an urgent operational requirement for the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).
The USD42.8 million contract modification awarded on 1 November follows an original award for USD80.7 million granted in late June. A full production contract is expected to follow, with delivery of the four new helicopters to the USSOCOM due from 2021 to 2022.
Derived from the baseline CH-47F heavy-lift Chinook, the MH-47G is a specialist special operations forces (SOF) platform that features double-capacity 'fat' fuel tanks, an in-flight aerial refuelling probe, a digital advanced flight-control system, and classified sensors and electronic warfare kits specified by SOCOM.
The US Army currently fields 61 remanufactured Block 1 Chinooks (62 were delivered - 35 CH-47Ds, 9 MH-47Ds, and 18 MH-47Es - with one being lost on operations in Afghanistan), as well as 8 newbuild MH-47Gs for a total fleet of 69 Block 1 helicopters. According to the DoD, the four additional helicopters are being procured "in light of increased SOF operational demands", with the USSOCOM's Chinooks being among the most heavily utilised in the army's fleet.
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