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  • Boeing CH-47 Chinook Medium-Lift, Tandem Rotor Transport Helicopter

    The Boeing CH-47 Chinook tandem-rotor helicopter became a widely-used and widely-exported medium-lift platform for its time - amazingly it remains in service today.

     Updated: 5/8/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The Boeing "Chinook" line of medium-lift, tandem-rotor transport helicopters has been a mainstay utility system for the United States Army (and others) for decades since its introduction in 1962. The iconic design was given a tandem-rotor approach to provide the necessary lift properties when hauling medium-class loads over the battlefield - able to transport weaponry, supplies, a full complement of combat-ready troops, and other useful components to and from operating points. Despite its 1960s origins, the CH-47 remains in service throughout the world and should continue to be one of the more versatile transport helicopters ever produced - its importance is such that the series is scheduled for retirement no sooner than 2060 while being set to become the U.S. Army's first "100 Year" aircraft.

    The story of the CH-47 began in the mid-1950s with the U.S. Army looking to replace its stock of Sikorsky CH-37 "Mojave" transport helicopters. Production of this system - which was not an outright success due to operating expenses, size, and reliance on piston-driven engines - was limited to just 154 units. Service began in July of 1956 and ended relatively quickly in the late 1960s. The turbine engine soon arrived and replaced piston engines in helicopters through such successful products as the Bell UH-1 "Huey" medium-lift transport helicopter so thought was no being given to an all-new, medium-lift system based on the more powerful and capable drive units.

    Various contractors were in play early on to deliver a solution to the ongoing Army requirement. To help sell the idea of a new turbine -powered platform, Vertol engineers fleshed out their "V-107" of 1957 and this was enough to prove the investment as a formal contract followed the following year to be based on the developmental "YHC-1A" designation. Three prototypes would be featured for evaluation.

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    Boeing CH-47D Chinook Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1962
    Type: Medium-Lift, Tandem Rotor Transport Helicopter
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Boeing / Boeing-Vertol - USA / Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) - Japan
    Production Total: 1,200

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 3
    Length: 51.02 feet (15.55 meters)
    Width: 60.04 feet (18.30 meters)
    Height: 18.93 feet (5.77 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 23,402 lb (10,615 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 50,001 lb (22,680 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 2 x Lycoming (Honeywell) T55-L-712 turboshaft engines developing 3,750 horsepower each while driving 2 x three-bladed main rotors.

    Maximum Speed: 180 mph (290 kph; 157 knots)
    Maximum Range: 264 miles (425 km)
    Service Ceiling: 8,448 feet (2,575 meters; 1.60 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 1,522 feet-per-minute (464 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    2 x 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs) or Miniguns on side pintle mounts.
    1 x 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs) or Minigun on rear cargo ramp.

    Some models used in the delivery of napalm or other drop ordnance.

    Global Operators / Customers

    Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Canada; Egypt; Greece; India; Iran; Italy; Japan; Libya; Morocco; Netherlands; Oman; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; South Korea; South Vietnam; Spain; Taiwan; Thailand; Turkey; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States; Vietnam

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    Vertol Model 114 - Model Selected by US Army for futher battlefield development.

    YCH-47A - Prototype Designation

    CH-47A - Initial Production Model Designation; 354 produced for US Army.

    CH-47B - Uprated engines with increased rotor diameter; 108 such models produced.

    CH-47C - Uprated engines and increased fuel capacity; became US Army "standardized" Chinook for previous "B" models; also produced under license in Italy with Elicotteri Meridionali brand.

    CH-47D - Fitted with T55-L-712 engines featuring more overall power; new external cargo hook design implemented; NVG cockpit capability; over 480 such models produced.

    CH-47D "International Chinook" - Export Model Designation.

    CH-47F (ICH) "Improved Cargo Helicopter" - US Army Transport Model.

    CH-47J - Japanese license-production of CH-47D models.

    CH-47JA - Japanese license-production of CH-47D models with weather radar equipped.

    MH-47D - Special Operations modified CH-47C models.

    MH-47E - Special Operations Model

    CH-47SD "Super D" - Export Model

    HC.1 - British CH-47C Model Designation

    HC.2 - British CH-47D Model Designation