Saturday, October 4, 2014

New MH-47G Advanced Chinook Special Operations Helicopter

One month ahead of schedule, Boeing delivered the latest and most advanced version of its military Chinook helicopter to the U.S. Army yesterday. If things stay on track, Boeing expects to make good on delivery of seven more       MH-47Gs to the Army’s Special Operations Aviation Command through the end of 2015.

The newest version of the tried-and-true workhorse of the military sports an improved “monolithic machined-frame” and an advanced flight control system. The improvements came about through a collaboration of military experts, who expressed specific needs and the Boeing Defense engineers who, through research and development, made good on those military requests.

Special Operations Aviation has a storied history dating back to the formation of a helicopter company specifically designated for the Army’s Special Forces during the protracted Vietnam War.

The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) -SOAR-is headquartered at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. This special operations force provides helicopter aviation for both special operations forces and general purpose forces. Its missions include attack, assault, and reconnaissance; usually conducted at high speeds, at night, in low altitudes, and on short notice.

The SOAR aviators known as the Nightstalkers became almost famous to civilians after the Doug Stanton book “Horse Soldiers.” Stanton highlighted the skills of these aviators when they flew Special Forces and CIA teams into Afghanistan following the attacks of 9/11. The Nightstalkers, flying Boeing Chinooks, navigated in conditions they had never seen, nor could ever imagine.

Just yesterday, Boeing announced restructuring plans to relocate some 2,000 Pacific Northwest-based employees to facilities in Oklahoma City, Jacksonville, Florida, and St. Louis, Missouri. What Boeing has no plans to change in the near future is the Boeing Defense arm of the company that has production sites near Seattle where they make KC-45A tankers and the U.S. Navy's P-8 Poseidon aircraft.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space, and security businesses with 56,000 employees worldwide. Boeing remains the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. The new MH-47G Chinook project was a $300 million contract for Boeing Defense.

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