The US Army's 6th Battalion 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, has begun flying Boeing's CH-47F Chinook helicopter following completion of required training.
US Army 101st Combat Aviation Brigade 6th Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Brad Ninness said the technological advantages and improvements in the CH-47F increase their capabilities and allow them to better support the soldier on the ground.
Four Chinooks have been deployed in support of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
CH-47F features a newly designed, modernised airframe, a Rockwell Collins common avionics architecture system (CAAS) cockpit and a BAE digital advanced flight control system (DAFCS).
The CAAS significantly improves aircrew situational awareness, while the DAFCS provides improved flight-control capabilities through the entire flight envelope, enhanced performance and safety in extreme climate conditions.
In addition, CAAS also incorporates an advanced digital map display and a data transfer system that allows storing of preflight and mission data as well as common missile warning and improved countermeasure dispenser systems.
The new CH-47F powered by two 4,733hp Honeywell engines, can fly at an airspeed exceeding 175mph with a payload capacity of 21,000lb.
The aircraft with its Robertson Aviation extended-range fuel system has an operational range of 400nm.