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US Army waiting on Chinook Block 2 qualification before committing to production

With more than 500 CH-47F and MH-47G Chinooks in its inventory, the US Army is yet to commit to the Block 2 upgrade that is geared at restoring lost lift capacity. (US Army)

The US Army is waiting on the Block 2 standard qualification completion of the Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopter before committing itself to a production decision, a senior service official told Janes on 15 February.

Speaking at the IQPC International Military Helicopter conference in London on 15–17 February, Brigadier General Robert Barrie, Program Executive Officer, Aviation, said that, with the effort still completing the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase, the army is waiting for the full qualification of the system before making a production decision.

“I think there‘s still more to do,” Brig Gen Barrie said. “We continue to watch the qualification effort – our focus is to qualify the system, and we‘re still not there yet.”

Through the Block 2 upgrade, the US Army is planning to restore some of the Chinook's lift capacity that has been lost over the years with the addition of ever more mission kits and countermeasures. The work is set to include a new drive system to accommodate the higher torque levels that would come via the Future Affordable Turbine Engine programme, a single-segment fuel tank in each side sponson compared with the three in the Block 1 helicopter, electrical system enhancements, and some other unspecified improvements. The Advanced Chinook Rotor Blade (ACRB), which features geometry and a new asymmetric aerofoil, has been dropped from the programme due to vibration and retreating blade stall issues, Brig Gen Barrie said.

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