The CH-47F Chinook tandem-rotor helicopter is the fastest rotorcraft in the U.S. Army fleet, capable of transporting up to 55 soldiers to remote locations at a speed of nearly 200 miles per hour. It has doubled its payload capacity to 11 tons since first seeing service during the Vietnam era, and now incorporates an extensive series of self-protection and other enhancements. Nonetheless, Chinook is due for another round of upgrades, and the Army is taking too long to give the go-ahead. It’s not as though the service has a successor waiting in the wings: current plans are for the Chinook to remain in service until 2060. But in order to do that, it must receive “Block II” improvements needed to keep it survivable and relevant on the battlefields of tomorrow. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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