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The latest CH-47F Chinook is the workhorse of the US Army

The CH-47F is the latest version of the ubiquitous CH-47 Chinook. The original CH-47A reached the US Army in 1962 and became the air transport workhorse ever since. Also the Chinook has been widely exported.

The recent CH-47F was developed by Boeing from the previous CH-47D. The CH-47F has new engines, upgraded airframe and new avionics. It made its first flight in 2001. Production commenced in 2006. Existing CH-47D helicopters can be upgraded to the CH-47F standard, or these can be newly produced. By 2014 a total of 300 CH-47F helicopters were delivered to the US Army and National Guard. It has seen action during the w4r in Afghanistan.

The CH-47F has been exported to Canada (15), Netherlands (6), United Kngdom (24 planned). Australia ordered 7 of these helicopters. These will be delivered in the near future.

The CH-47F performs various transport missions. It transports troops, w4r supplies and battlefield equipment. This helicopter is also deployed in medical evacuation, search and rescue, aircraft recovery, parachute drop and other operations.

The CH-47F accommodates 33 to 55 passengers, depending on cargo area configuration. However usually it carries less passengers. Alternatively it can carry up to 24 litters, plus medical attendants. It can carry up to 10 900 kg of cargo internally and 12 700 kg externally on a sling load. The helicopter has three external cargo hooks and can carry various loads, such as light vehicles, artillery pieces or shelters.

The CH-47F is operated by a crew of three, including two pilots and flight engineer.

This military transport helicopter can be armed with up to three 7.62 mm machine guns or miniguns. Two of them can be mounted in the doors and one on loading ramp.

This transport helicopter is powered by two new Honeywell T55-GA-714A turboshaft engines, developing 4 733 shp each. The new Chinook is faster than many utility and attack helicopters.

The British version is known as Chinook Mk.6. It is operated by the Royal Air Force. Deliveries commenced in 2013. United Kingdom planned to obtain a total of 24 of the new choppers.

Canadian version is known as the CH-147F. It had some modifications to suit local requirements, such as long range fuel tanks, infra-red countermeasures system, and some other improvements.

There is also an ICH-47F version that was developed by Boeing and AgustaWestland for the Italian army. It made its first flight in 2013. These helicopters are produced in Italy under license. Italian army ordered 16 of these helicopters. First copters were delivered in 2014.

Even though the CH-47F is still in production, Boeing is already looking for a future enhancements. It is planned that between 2020 and 2025 helicopters will be fitted with more powerful engines, new rotor blades derived from the cancelled RAH-66 Commanche, will have a strengthened airframe and will be capable to carry more payload. The planned future versions are nominally referred as CH-47G and CH-47H. These helicopters are planned to remain operational with the US Army beyond 2060, or over 100 years after the type first entered service.



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