The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Boeing a USD39 million modification to an existing contract for four MH-47G Chinook helicopters for the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).
The contract, announced on 1 February, follows a USD42.8 million award made in November 2018 to protect the production-delivery schedule of the MH-47G Chinook helicopters to satisfy an urgent operational requirement for the USSOCOM. That contract followed an original award for USD80.7 million granted in late June 2018, bringing the total granted for the four helicopters to USD162.5million (USD40.6 million per helicopter).
As previously reported by Jane's , delivery of the four new helicopters is scheduled to take place throughout 2021 and 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 the USSOCOM.
The USSOCOM currently fields 61 remanufactured Block 1 special-mission 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 eight 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 special-operations demands", with the USSOCOM's Chinooks being among the most heavily used in the army's fleet. Once deliveries are complete, the command will field 73 Block 1 MH-47G helicopters.
This order for four new MH-47G helicopters will most likely be the final one placed for the Block 1-version of the SOF Chinook, with the army already moving ahead with plans to replace its fleet with newbuild Block 2 platforms.
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