USSOCOM places order for four new build MH-47G rotorcraft

Boeing was awarded an US$80 million order for four new build MH-47G Chinook special operations helicopters, the US Department of Defense announced on June 28, 2018.

Four new build MH 47G helicopters 001 A MH-47G Chinook helicopter and crew from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) approach for a fast rope insertion during rehearsal for the opening exercise of Jackal Sone 10 (Credit: US Army/Sgt. 1st Class Jason Cauley)

"This action is required to satisfy an urgent need to sustain U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) heavy assault, rotary wing aircraft and to mitigate the impact of the MH-47G aircraft availability in light of increased SOF operational demands," the Pentagon added. The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), Tampa, Florida, is the contracting activity.

Design work on this new special operations Chinook model began back in 2011. The MH-47Gs became the backbone of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, which provides helicopter aviation support for general purpose forces and special operations forces.  They operate a variety of helicopters including MH-60 Black Hawks, MH-47 Chinooks, MH-6 Little Birds, and their assault configuration, the AH-6. 

Maintaining the same basic fuselage, fuel system, power train, engines and performance standards as the MH-47E, the "Gulf" model has further structural modifications including a new cockpit with an extended nose and technological enhancements for special operations missions. It also has multi-mode radar to navigate challenging environments and dangerous terrain; a Fast Rope Insertion Extraction System (FRIES) for insertion of personnel and equipment and extraction of personnel; a defensive armament system with two M-134 “Minigun” machine guns and one M-60D machine gun; and an external rescue hoist.