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Boeing MH-47 Chinook

Special Forces Tandem-Rotor Military Helicopter

United States | 1980

"The Boeing MH-47 is a special forces variant of the popular and highly-capable CH-47 Chinook tandem-rotor military transport helicopter."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 12/01/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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.

British special forces elements took into service eight examples of a modified version of the earlier MH-47E under the designation of "HC.3". Delivered in 2001, the fleet was found to have troublesome avionics and this forced the fleet to be reworked back into "HC.2" standard forms in 2008, though now since having been upgraded to the more modern, digitally-enhanced "HC.5" standard. The Royal Air Force is also said to be interested in the upgraded MH-47G models currently available.

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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).

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Boeing MH-47D Special Forces Tandem-Rotor Military Helicopter.
2 x Lycoming T55-GA-714A turboshaft engines developing 4,732 horsepower each driving 2 x Three-bladed main rotors in tandem arrangement.
196 mph
315 kph | 170 kts
Max Speed
20,013 ft
6,100 m | 4 miles
Service Ceiling
401 miles
645 km | 348 nm
Operational Range
1,555 ft/min
474 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Boeing MH-47D Special Forces Tandem-Rotor Military Helicopter.
98.4 ft
30.00 m
O/A Length
59.1 ft
(18.00 m)
O/A Width
18.9 ft
(5.77 m)
O/A Height
26,455 lb
(12,000 kg)
Empty Weight
55,116 lb
(25,000 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Boeing MH-47 Chinook Special Forces Tandem-Rotor Military Helicopter .
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.
Notable series variants as part of the Boeing MH-47 Chinook family line.
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.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Boeing MH-47 Chinook. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 45 Units

Contractor(s): Boeing Company - USA
National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States

[ United Kingdom; United States ]
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Image of the Boeing MH-47 Chinook
Image from the United States Army; Public Release.

Developments of similar form-and-function, or related, to the Boeing MH-47 Chinook Special Forces Tandem-Rotor Military Helicopter.
Going Further...
The Boeing MH-47 Chinook Special Forces Tandem-Rotor Military Helicopter appears in the following collections:
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