US Special Operations Forces Are Getting Most Updated Helicopters

US Special Operations Forces Are Getting Most Updated Helicopters

Photo illus. CH-47 Chinook helicopter by US DoD

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The MH-47 Chinook helicopter variants are the primary heavy-lift transport helicopters for the U.S. Army’s Special Operations. Six new helicopters will be built for US Special Operations Forces by Boeing – the MH-47G twin-rotor heavy-lift helicopters.

This upgrade under terms of a $194.6 million order includes new composite rotor blades, an improved drive train, single sponson fuel tanks. 

The MH-47G renew project uses new, salvaged, reworked, or recapitalized components into an upgraded airframe, Special Operations Command officials say.

The MH-47G helicopter is similar to the MH-47E, but has more sophisticated avionics including a digital common avionics architecture system (CAAS) — a common glass cockpit used by different helicopters. The MH-47G has a glass digital cockpit that is compatible with night-vision goggles. The cockpit shares the same processing and display units as the MH-60M Black Hawk helicopter.

A forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and visible-light camera are mounted in a bubble under the helicopter’s chin to enable pilots to fly at low levels at night and in bad weather. The CH-47G also has the Raytheon Silent Knight multi-mode radar that enables terrain-following, terrain-avoidance, and weather detection.

The helicopter is the most current and sophisticated MH-47 in service. It uses two T55-GA-714A engines with infrared exhaust suppressors to reduce the helicopter’s vulnerability to infrared sensors and infrared-guided missiles. Large fuel tanks that stick out from the sides of the helicopter extend the MH-47G’s range, and the aircraft has an extendable probe for mid-air refueling, according to