Procurement: January 25, 2005

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The U.S. Army is spending $11.4 billion dollars to refurbish its fleet of CH-47 transport helicopters. That effort will result in a fleet of 513 CH-47F helicopters (including 397 rebuilt CH-47D choppers, 55 new ones plus special versions.) The program will make the rebuilt machines good for another twenty years of service. The F model CH-47 will have up-to-date digital communications, be easier to maintain, and cheaper to operate. The CH-47F can carry 11 tons of cargo, or up to 55 troops, and has a maximum range of 426 kilometers. Its max speed is 315 kilometers an hour. Typical missions last no more than 2.5 hours. The first CH-47s entered service in 1962, able to carry only five tons. Some 750 saw service in Vietnam, and 200 were lost in action. Between 1982-94, 500 CH-47s were rebuilt to the CH-47D standard. SOCOM operates 31 MH-47Ds and Es, which have additional navigation gear. These will be upgraded to MH-47F standards, and the fleet expanded to 61 helicopters. As a result of all this, the CH-47 will end up serving at least 75 years. The CH-47F upgrades and new builds are underway, and the program will not be completed until 2018.

 


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