Air Transportation: July 24, 2002
Helicopter Modernization- The US Army had about 20 percent of its MH-47 heavy-lift special missions helicopters damaged or destroyed in Afghanistan, and is pushing to start buying new MH-47Gs. (The Army has not decided yet how many of the new G-models will be built from scratch or converted from existing CH-47s.) Some of the items needed for the G-model take 30 months to build and the Army has started buying them.
The US Marines are considering several options for the expected Service Life Extension Program for their CH-53E heavy-lift helicopters. While many different concepts are being considered, what the Marines want most is the AE1107 Rolls Royce engine. This would improve range, fuel efficiency, and lift. For example, in hot weather at high altitudes, the CH-53E can lift only 10,000 pounds (a problem in Afghanistan), but with this new engine it could carry 28,000 pounds.--Stephen V Cole