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Army Orders More CH-47 from Boeing

by: Matthew Potter
January 18, 2012

Category: Australia, Boeing, Business Line, Companies, Contract Additions, Contract Awards, Countries, Department of Defense, Events, FMS, logistics, Military Aviation, Pennsylvia, production program, Services, States, U.S. Army, UAE | RSS 2.0

The U.S. Army and other services have made heavy investments in their rotary wing forces over the last decade. Due to the terrain and the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan heavy use of helicopters were required to provide fire support and logistics transportation. This meant that not only was the existing fleet of aircraft being heavily used but more were needed as well as new systems.

The U.S. Army cancelled the RAH-66 Comanche program in 2004. This was an advanced scout attack helicopter. They utilized the funds to build new programs such as the UH-60M, UH-72A and CH-47F aircraft. The Marines and Air Force also made a heavy investment in the V-22 OSprey tilt rotor aircraft.

One aircraft that has made a major contribution to the fighting is the large, cargo helicopter CH-47 Chinook. Not only has the U.S. Army increased its inventory of these aircraft but also many other countries have bought it to support their combat troops in Afghanistan. These have included the U.K., Canada and Australia. Due to the altitude and temperature conditions the CH-47 is the most capable aircraft for carrying large loads of supplies or troops.

The CH-47 is manufactured by Boeing (BA) at their plant in Pennsylvania and they just received yet another production contract for the aircraft. A further 14 were ordered with an value of around $370 million.

These aircraft will be used by the U.S., Australia and the U.A.E. continuing to demonstrate the FMS value of the CH-47.

The expected budget cuts will most likely slow down the investment in aviation by the Army but not end programs. The U.S. needs to either re-capatilize or replace systems that have seen a great deal of use in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even with smaller ground forces it makes sense to continue to increase aviation assets as it is easier to quickly build up infantry units then rotary winged ones.

The CH-47 due to its demonstrated capability will remain a core component of the U.S. Army’s aviation forces and will continue to see steady overseas sales.

Photo from The California’s National Guard Flickr photostream.

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