Air Platforms

US Army warns that FARA, FLRAA at risk if service cannot end Chinook Block 2 programme

22 August 2019

The acting US Army secretary warned that procurement of two helicopter platforms are at risk if Congress does not let the service end the Boeing CH-47F Chinook Block 2 programme. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

Key Points

  • A US Army official warns that the acquisition of next-generation rotorcraft is at risk if the service is not allowed to cancel the Chinook Block 2 programme
  • Cancelling the Chinook Block 2 effort is a small move compared with the larger budget reprioritisation that will take place in future years

The US Army's acquisition of new attack reconnaissance and long-range assault helicopters will be at risk if Congress does not let the service end the Boeing CH-47F Block 2 Chinook heavy lift helicopter programme, according to Acting US Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.

"It would give us a hard time to finance our ambition," he told reporters on 20 August.

The US Army had proposed in its fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020) budget request to end the Chinook Block 2 acquisition to focus on new priorities, including the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) aircraft. Of the five FVL aircraft, the army wants to first procure the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA).

McCarthy left open the possibility of buying Chinooks in the future, despite wanting to end the Block 2 programme. He said by halting the programme now and maintaining a robust supply chain due to a large number of Foreign Military Sale (FMS) orders, the army could "turn something like that back on" if it had to make an adjustment. McCarthy noted that the Chinook helicopter is the youngest in the US Army's helicopter fleet.

"That is why we are working very hard with Congress for them to clearly understand the investments we are going to make because we are bringing on two new helicopters," McCarthy said. "That will be expensive and it will be hard."

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