The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] delivered the first MH-47G Special Operations Chinook helicopter to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Thursday during a ceremony in Philadelphia.
The MH-47G is the seventh and most capable iteration of the world's most advanced heavy lift helicopter. Boeing will produce at least 37 G-models, which will significantly increase the inventory of Special Operations Chinooks. The delivered aircraft is one of three modernized under the U.S. Army's Reconstitution Program to replace operational losses of MH-47Es. Under the U.S. Army's Cargo Helicopter Modernization Program, plans call for Boeing to remanufacture and deliver 58 additional MH-47Gs by 2011 to help meet urgent Special Operations requirements.
"The delivery of the first MH-47G marks the beginning of years' worth of Chinook production and support work for Boeing and its suppliers," said Pat Shanahan, vice president and general manager, Boeing Rotorcraft Systems. "All of us at Boeing are extremely proud of the Chinook and its record of service with the U.S. Army, Army Special Operations and our allies around the world for more than four decades. Now it's time to begin a new chapter that will carry the Chinook forward for many more decades."
The MH-47G features a number of upgrades over earlier models, including more efficient engines, improved avionics, reduced interior vibration and improved air transportability. Also, the aircraft's fully integrated digital Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) will enable Special Operations aviators to integrate global communications, navigation, survivability and situational awareness capabilities.
"As magnificent as this aircraft is, it's only as good as the people who plan it, design it, build it, fly it and support it in a number of ways," said Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger, commanding general, U.S. Army Special Operations Command to Boeing employees gathered at the event. "Whatever piece, small or large, is yours in the Army's acquisition of the MH-47G, you are making a direct contribution to the global war on terrorism."
The U.S. Army Special Operations Command uses its current fleet of 34 Special Operations Chinooks -- 23 MH-47Es and 11 MH-47Ds -- to complete clandestine exfiltration and infiltration missions at low level, day or night, in all weather conditions. The Army plans to modernize these aircraft to the G-model configuration to better support its Special Operations mission.
Boeing builds the Chinook in Philadelphia, where more than 4,600 employees use state-of-the-art Lean manufacturing and engineering methods to generate efficiencies and cost savings in all stages of development and production. Boeing's longest running continuous production program, the Chinook first entered service with the U.S. Army in 1962 and has been used in countless military, civilian and humanitarian missions around the world.
Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $27 billion business that provides systems solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services.
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