Boeing MH-47G. Photo courtesy of Boeing
Boeing on Nov. 2 received a $43 million boost to a contract it already holds to build MH-47Gs for U.S. Special Operations Command.
The $42.8 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification is for four new build MH-47G heavylift aircraft and is a follow-on to an undefinitized $80 million contract awarded in June for Block I aircraft.
“The contract modification satisfies an urgent need to sustain U.S. Special Operations Forces heavy assault, rotary-wing aircraft,” according to a U.S. Defense Department statement announcing the award. The contract modification is funded with fiscal 2018 U.S. Army aircraft procurement funds.
The majority of the work on this non-competitive award will be performed Boeing’s manufacturing facility in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.
Boeing earlier this year received a $139.8 million contract to build four MH-47G Block II Chinooks for SOCOM. Those heavy-lift helicopters marked the start of Block II production for SOCOM expected to run into the late 2020s.
The Army has 69 MH-47G Chinooks in operation and eventually will upgrade all of the highly classified aircraft to Block II configuration, an evolutionary upgrade package Boeing developed and is now producing under a $276 million contract awarded by the Army in 2017.
The first of three U.S. Army CH-47F Chinook Block II test aircraft was loaded into final assembly in late June, marking a major milestone in the effort to dramatically overhaul the Boeing-built heavy-lift helicopters. MH-47Gs are built to SOCOM standards and are equipped with classified avionics, sensors and weapons. Both models are built by Boeing at its manufacturing facility outside Philadelphia.
Block II was designed to achieve specific performance enhancement metrics, including a 22,000-pound payload and high/hot hover performance at 4,000 ft on a 95-deg-F day. Maximum takeoff weight is boosted to 54,000 pounds with the goal of carrying a joint light tactical vehicle.
First delivery of a production Block II Chinook to the Army is expected in 2023. The Army plans to eventually upgrade more than 500 Chinooks — its entire fleet of CH-47Fs — to Block II configuration. The Army is still in the process of bringing all of its Chinooks to F-model configuration. Boeing will bring in an estimated $14 billion and change to bring the Army’s entire fleet to F-model configuration.