WASHINGTON — The Army has awarded Boeing a $265 million contract to construct 9 extra MH-47G Block II Chinook helicopters for the service’s Special Operations Aviation Command, in accordance with a July 31 Defense Department contract announcement.
The firm is now underneath contract to construct 24 of the G-model Chinooks. The service is anticipated to purchase 69 particular operations variants.
The authentic plan was to obtain 473 F-model Block II helicopters for the lively power as nicely, however the Army determined in its fiscal 2020 finances request to not purchase them for the standard power and solely area the newest variant to particular operations, which was a lot in want of a alternative for the variant in its fleet.
The service’s determination to chop the plane from the lively power was primarily based on the necessity to liberate future money to cowl the price of an bold plan to purchase two new future vertical carry plane for long-range assault and assault reconnaissance missions.
Congress has since opposed the transfer, injecting $28 million in FY20 funding into this system to buy long-lead gadgets to fabricate F-model Block II Chinooks for the lively Army. The Army’s FY21 finances once more supplied no funding for this system. The same plus-up within the congressional FY21 spending invoice might proceed to push the service again within the course of shopping for extra Block II variants.
The contract award is the third in a sequence of awards to purchase G-model Chinooks. Boeing acquired contracts in 2018 and 2019 as nicely.
The Army accredited the Block II effort to maneuver into the engineering and manufacturing improvement part in April 2017, and this system formally started in July 2017. The plane started flying in checks in mid-2019.
The upgrades within the Block II model embody newly designed rotorblades, main adjustments to the drive system and different enhancements like non-segmented gasoline cells. The plane is anticipated to purchase again roughly 4,000 kilos of extra load capability and provides vary functionality.