The U.S. Army’s only heavy-lift helicopter, CH-47F Chinook, is expected to stay in service through 2060. Nonetheless, Army leaders have been trying to cancel an upgrade of the helicopter without which it will not be able to transport the service’s next-generation jeep or its light howitzer. If they succeed in their plan, the Chinook production line will fall below its minimum sustaining rate in 2023, endangering 18,000 jobs spread across an industrial base that includes 280 suppliers. The biggest hit would come at the Boeing rotorcraft plant in Ridley Township, PA, which is the largest industrial employer in the Delaware Valley. Members of the local congressional delegation will likely ride to the rescue, but the operational and political logic of the Army’s strategy is hard to discern. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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