The United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) received the first new-generation MH-47G Block II Chinook helicopter. While the factory in Philadelphia where the helicopter was made was closed for almost three weeks due to COVID-19, the MH-47G was delivered on time.
In a press release, Boeing highlights the importance of the newest version of Chinook delivery as a significant move in the improvement of the U.S SOCOM performance. Vice president and H-47 program manager Andy Buita claims that “the new Chinook will give U.S. Special Operations Forces significantly more capability for extremely challenging missions and will enable them to conduct those missions on the future battlefield.”
The bunch of upgrades in the new-generation Block II version includes newly designed rotor blades, that are designed to increase payload capacity by 680kg (1,500lb) and reduce the maintenance costs. Moreover, major changes in the fuel tanks design made it significantly lighter and at the same time enabled it to carry more fuel. The manufacturer states that all improvements, including a strengthened fuselage, that now can carry heavier loads, as well as other innovations in the drive system, were made to increase the helicopter‘s lifting capacity.
According to Defensenews, the U.S Army officially approved the Chinook Block II program in July 2017. Few years later, in the period of 2019-2020, Boeing produced three helicopters for flight tests. The MH-47G Block II Chinook the U.S Army has received is the first this type military aircraft to be used in operational missions.
The Chinook is highly regarded by experts worldwide and could be called the most reliable military helicopter since the Vietnam War in 1965. Boeing is on contract for 23 more new-branded MH-47G Block II Chinooks, having signed a contract with SOCOM in July 2020.