In the late 1990s, development began on a successor to the earlier MH-47D and MH-47E Chinook Special Operations Aircraft. CH-47F technology improvements were to form the foundation for the new MH-47G modernization program, which would improve the MH-47D and MH-47E Chinooks. The 25 MH-47E and the 11 MH-47D that were used in special missions were to be converted to the new version by the end of 2003.
In May 2001, it was announced that the US Special Operations Command, Technology Applications Contracting Office intended to acquire one each MH-47G helicopter. The CH-47F modernization program would sustain the US Army's Chinook fleet to provide rotary-wing, heavy-lift capabilities well into the 21st century. Modernization would include aircraft remanufacturing, vibration reduction, improved avionics with integrated digital mission management systems and a digital map, and installation of more powerful Honeywell T55-GA-14A-714 engines. These core elements of the program would reduce operational and support costs to below those of the original CH-47D and provide at least another 20 years of economical and effective service.
When fielded, the MH-47G was required to have the same functionality that the existing MH-47E had, in addition to the existing MH-47D functionality. This included, but was not limited to Mission Management; Aircraft Performance; Multi-Mode Radar Operation; Digital Map; and Aircraft Survivability Equipment Control. b. Dual Embedded Global Positioning System (GPS)/Inertial Navigation Unit (INU)(EGI). A second EGI was being integrated to provide better navigation accuracy and a more reliable redundant navigator. This second EGI replaced the existing Aircraft Heading Reference System (AHRS) that was obsolete and becoming unsupportable. All Army Special Operations Aircraft were required to have the capability of receiving and displaying Near Real Time Intelligence Data (NRTID) to provide the crew and customers with up to the minute situational awareness.
On 6 May 2004, US Army special operations forces received their first MH-47G Chinook helicopter during a rollout ceremony at aircraft manufacturer Boeing's compound in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. Procurement and distribution were to continue through FY11. Boeing reported on 7 May 2011, that it would produce at least 37 new MH-47Gs, the rest of the airframes being upgraded from existing MH-47D and MH-47E aircraft. Under the US Army's Cargo Helicopter Modernization Program, plans called for Boeing to remanufacture and deliver at least 58 additional MH-47Gs by 2011 (the US Army reported on 11 May 2011 that the number was 61) to help meet urgent special operations forces requirements.
On 22 July 2004, Boeing announced that it had delivered the first CH-47F helicopter to the US Army, 2 months ahead of schedule. The aircraft, the first of 7 Lot 1 deliveries, was to be used initially for flight demonstrations. The remaining 6 aircraft in Lot 1 were all MH-47G Chinooks, to be delivered by March 2005. To ensure that the US Army special operations forces met high priority operational needs, Boeing was to next remanufacture approximately 30 more G-model Chinooks before the next CH-47F was delivered in 2006.
In January 2005, it was reported that all of the Army's CH-47 Chinooks were to be upgraded to the new CH-47F standard by 2018 as the result of a partnership between the service and Boeing, the helicopter's manufacturer. The Chinooks would receive recapitalized depot-level repair components that were nearly "zero hour" or new. The new Chinook would features a modern "glass cockpit" avionics suite. This Common Avionics Architecture System was based on the MH-47G common core. The UH-60M program planned to use the same system, as did the MH-60M program.
On 13 September 2006, the Department of Defense announced that Honeywell Inc., Defense and Space Electronics System of Clearwater, Florida was being awarded a $6,189,050 firm-fixed-price contract modification. This action was to purchase 88 Embedded Global Positional/Inertial Navigation System, production units installs for the MH-47G/TSPI/MH-6/SOA/F-16/AH-64D platforms, one contractor depot repair for the TSPI platform, 5 integration units (retrofit kits) for the TSPI platform, and 4 9.8-inch mounts for the MH-47G platform through the Tri-Services Embedded Global Positioning office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. At that time, total funds had been obligated. This work would be complete July 2008. Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, was the contracting activity.
On 10 January 2007, the Raytheon Company announced that the US Special Operations Command had awarded it a $135.4 million contract to develop a new tactical radar for rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. The system design and development contract, formally signed on 12 December 2006, and initially funded at $28.5 million, called for Raytheon to build, test and integrate the new Silent Knight radar. The system would serve as a common multi-mode terrain following/terrain avoidance radar for a variety of platforms including the MH-47G helicopter, the lead aircraft for the program.
The Boeing Company of Ridley Park, Pennsylvania was awarded on 29 June 2007, a delivery order amount of $52,699,408 as part of a $147,271,800 firm-fixed-price contract for remanufacture of H-47 aircraft to the MH-47G configuration. Work would be performed in Ridley Park, Park (98.3 percent), and Middletown, Delaware (1.7 percent), and was expected to be completed by 30 August 2008. Contract funds would not expire at the end of the fiscal year. This was a sole source contract initiated on 28 June 2006. The US Army Aviation and Missile Command, Fort Eustis, Virginia was the contracting activity. On the same day Boeing was also awarded a delivery order amount of $6,500,000 as part of a $112,469,971 firm-fixed-price contract for remanufacture of H-47 Aircraft to the MH-47G configuration and an option for additional aircraft. Work would be performed in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania (98.3 percent), and Middletown, Delaware (1.7 percent), and was expected to be completed by 31 May 2010. Contract funds would not expire at the end of the fiscal year. This was a different sole source contract initiated on 11 April 2007. The US Army Aviation and Missile Command, Fort Eustis, Virginia was the contracting activity.
On 7 December 2007, Boeing reported that it had successfully completed a series of MH-47G demonstration flights for the US Air Force at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, in support of its bid for the Air Force Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR-X) Program. The MH-47G was demonstrated as a functional representation of Boeing's HH-47 CSAR-X candidate. In 2007, Boeing reported that its manufacturing facility in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania had delivered 36 Chinook types, including 4 MH-47Gs, in 2007, just 13 months after the first CH-47F rolled off the production line.
On 6 May 2008, the Department of Defense announced that Honeywell International of Phoenix, Arizona was being awarded a maximum of $48,945,029, Firm-Fixed price Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract for Engine and Maintenance Support for the T55-GA-714A Engines and Components used on the MH-47G Helicopters. The work would primarily be performed at Greer, South Carolina, and was expected to be completed by 31 December 2012. Contract funds would not expire at the end of the fiscal year. This contract was awarded as a sole source. The contract number was H92241-08-D-0006.
The Boeing Company of Ridley Park, Pennsylvania was awarded on 24 April 2009, a $ 22,947,428 firm fixed price contract for MH-47G remanufacture for 3 MH-47E Aircraft into a MH-47G Extra Airframe Configuration. Work was to be performed in Philadelphia, Penmsylvania with an estimated completion date of 15 December 2011. One bid was solicited and one bid received. Aviation Integration Directorate, Fort Eustis, Virginia was the contracting activity.
The Army Sept. 29 took delivery of the first new build MH-47G Chinook helicopter for the Army Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) (SOAR) from Boeing. With eight Block I variants scheduled for delivery by the end of 2015, the specific upgrades incorporated into the Block II version have not been disclosed. The Army wanted to restart production of the Boeing MH-47G Chinook special mission helicopter in a new Block II design. The new Block II variants would reportedly replace some or all of SOCOM’s 61 Block I MH-47Gs.
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