The US Army has certified that Boeing's CH-47F Chinook helicopter is combat-ready. The army has also fielded its first CH-47F operational unit, making it the latest addition to the Army's aviation fleet.
Since Boeing first launched the aircraft in June 2006, the new Chinook has successfully completed several evaluations, including airworthiness and functional testing. In April 2007, the CH-47F completed operational testing at Fort Campbell, including more than 60 rigorous flight test hours that simulated mission scenarios, air assault, combat re-supply and transport operations.
The CH-47F helicopter features a new airframe, a Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit and a BAE Digital Advanced Flight Control System (DAFCS). CAAS greatly improves air crew situational awareness, while DAFCS gives improved flight control capabilities, offering 'hover hold', 'altitude hold' and 'beep down' functions.
Advanced avionics provides flight crews with an advanced digital map display and a data transfer system that allows storing of pre-flight and mission data. Improved survivability features include common missile warning and improved countermeasure dispenser systems.
The choppers have been assigned to Bravo Company (Varsity), 7th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, and 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.