The MH-47 is a special forces / special-mission variant of the classic Boeing CH-47 "Chinook" tandem-rotor, medium-lift military transport helicopter. It maintains all of the form-and-function of the original excellent platform while introducing systems and components to facilitate operations involving special forces of United States Special Operations COMmand - SOCOM. Beyond its land-based operational capabilities, the system can also be operated from the helipads of warships - making it a true multi-role / multi-mission solution. The MH-47 series has been progressively updated through its decades-long career, increasing its tactical value ten-fold, though its contributions to American special forces operations will never truly be known.
Initial MH-47D operational versions differed from their Chinook transport origins by being given fast-rappeling systems as well as an in-flight refueling capability among other special forces-centric additions. D-models were operated exclusively by the U.S. Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment for their time in the sky and twelve D-models were procured by the service in all - the fleet being of hybrid makeup, consisting of six converted U.S. Army CH-47A Chinooks and the remaining six pulled from the CH-47C production stock.
From this beginning spawned the follow-up MH-47E appearing in the early 1990s and these forms saw an increase to internal fuel capacity which, in turn, led to enhanced operating ranges for the fleet. Terrain-following radar was also installed to broaden the fleet's tactical capabilities - particularly during night sorties and MH-47Es were taken into Army special forces service by way of the aptly-named "Nightstalkers" of the 160th SOAR(A).
The MH-47G is the most modern incarnation of the MH-47 design and, again, developed specifically for U.S. Army special forces use. Beyond changes introduced through earlier MH-47E and CH-47F models, the MH-47G has updated avionics by way of a "common cockpit" architecture proven in other designs. Modernization of existing D- and E- models to the G-model standard has taken place while the newer "Block II", no beginning deliveries (2020), enhances the design even further.
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September 2020 - The U.S. Army (SOCOM) has begun receiving the new MH-47G Block II forms. The first example was delivered on September 1st, 2020.
December 2021 - Boeing announced it will be constructing six additional MH-47G Block II configuration helicopters for the United States Army's Special Operations COMmand (SOCOM).
2 x 7.62mm M134 miniguns at forward fuselage side positions (trainable mountings).
2 x 7.62mm M240 General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs) at rear fuselage side positions (trainable mountings).
Payload of up to 25,000lb including internal hold and underslung / sling loads. Up to forty combat-ready personnel can be carried or a single HMMWV or equivalent road vehicle.
MH-47 - Base Series Designation.
MH-47D - Original production model based in the CH-47A and CH-47C Chinook transport models; in-flight refueling capability and fast-rappeling equipment installed.
MH-47E - Increased internal fuel capacity leading to increased operational range.
MH-47G - Improved operational model with common cockpit architecture; glass cockpit.
MH-47G Block II - Improved operational model for US SOCOM.
HC.3 - British Royal Air Force SPECOPS model of 2001 reworked to HC.2 standard in 2008, since upgraded to HC.5 standard with digital FCS.
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Image from the United States Army; Public Release.
Developments of similar form and function or related to the Boeing MH-47 Chinook...
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