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Boeing CH-47 Chinook Medium Lift Transport / Utility Helicopter (1962)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/2/2013

The CH-47 Chinook is a widely-used and widely-exported twin-rotor utility helicopter.

The Chinook series of medium-lift helicopters has been a mainstay utility service system for the US Army (among others) for decades since its design and inception. The series featured the highly identifiable twin-tandem rotor systems mounted forward and aft on the fuselage and has proven itself quite the capable machine, delivering combat ready infantry, logistical supplies and battlefield hardware and equipment. Still in service throughout the world, the Chinook series looks to continue to be one of the more versatile transport helicopters ever produced.

The CH-47 began life as a design model in the form of the Model 114 as produced by Vertol. The US Army selected this prototype model over the smaller Model 107/YCH-1A prototype for further development into the YCH-47A. In a short few years, the system that was selected in 1959 would be in operational service roles by 1962.

The CH-47A was the initial production model served by Boeing Vertol and fielded by the United States Army. Following that were the B and C models, with the B model featuring new engines and larger diameter rotor blades. The C model was also fitted with newer engines but offered up increased range and were the focus of the first real attempts at export - seeing license production in Italy. The A and B models were the focus models used in the Vietnam conflict.

Ultimately, the CH-47 Chinook appeared in a D model with an export variant designated as the CH-47 "International Chinook". Beyond that, the system is survived in other forms detailed elsewhere on this site and includes modified Special Operations versions as well. Japan license-produced the CH-47 "D" model under the Kawasaki label brand and fielded it as the CH-47J and CH-47JA models.

In terms of capability, the CH-47 platform shines. It offers up accommodations for two or three crewmen with optional spacing from 37 to 55 combat-ready troops. Additionally, external hooks allow the system to be the prime supplier of moving battlefield equipment (D5 series bulldozers)such as artillery units (M198 series howitzers) to other fronts. The Chinooks utilize two rotor positions, each turning a three blade rotor system while fitting two Honeywell-brand turboshaft engines high onto the rear of the fuselage. A large cargo door is fitted aft and the entire surround of the aircraft if unobstructed by design. Up to 24 litter patients can be carried in the cabin instead of the infantry seating/standing number mentioned earlier.

As it stands, the CH-47 system will be fielded for quite some time due to its adaptability and capabilities not to mention its global reach. Additionally, the systems are constantly undergoing upgrades in other forms and have seen extensive use in both peacetime and wartime, the latter throughout the Global War on Terrorism. In any respect, the system has proven to be an engineering success and has decades of service experience in many roles to show for it.

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Specifications for the
Boeing CH-47 Chinook
Medium Lift Transport / Utility Helicopter

Focus Model: Boeing CH-47D Chinook
Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: Boeing - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1962
Production: 1,180

Crew: 3 + 35 (up to 55)

Length: 51.02 ft (15.55 m)
Width: 0.00 ft (0.00 m)
Height: 18.93ft (5.77 m)
Weight (Empty): 23,402 lb (10,615 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 50,001 lb (22,680 kg)

Powerplant: 2 x Honeywell T55-L-712 turboshaft engines generating 3,750shp and driving 2 x 3-blade rotor systems.

Maximum Speed: 180 mph (290 kmh; 157 kts)
Maximum Range: 264 miles (425 km)
Service Ceiling: 8,448 ft (2,575 m; 1.6 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,522 feet-per-minute (464 m/min)

Hardpoints: 0
Armament Suite:

2 x 7.62mm machine guns on window port pintle mounts.

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

Australia, Greece, Egypt, Iran, Italy, Japan, Libya, Morocco, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.