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.
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.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Serving Special Forces / Special Operations elements and missions.
98.4 ft (30.00 m)
59.1 ft (18.00 m)
18.9 ft (5.77 m)
26,455 lb (12,000 kg)
55,116 lb (25,000 kg)
+28,660 lb (+13,000 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Boeing MH-47D production variant)
2 x Lycoming T55-GA-714A turboshaft engines developing 4,732 horsepower each driving 2 x Three-bladed main rotors in tandem arrangement.
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.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 0
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.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
Aviation developments of similar form and function, or related to, the Boeing MH-47 Chinook...
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