Boeing has secured a $276m contract from the US Army for CH-47F Chinook Block II upgrade programme.

Under the contract, the company will build and test three upgraded Chinook helicopters.

Boeing Cargo Helicopters vice-president and H-47 programme manager Chuck Dabundo said: “This latest upgrade for the Chinook fleet is a tribute to the robustness of its original design and exemplifies its 55-year legacy of technological advancements.

“The fact that the US Army continues to use and value this platform and they are intending to continue to upgrade it to keep it flying for decades to come is a testament of the capabilities the Chinook team continues to bring.”

Construction of the test aircraft is expected to begin next year, while the first delivery of Block II Chinook is scheduled for 2023.

The army will eventually upgrade more than 500 Chinooks to Block II configuration.

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Chinooks will be upgraded with an improved drivetrain and rotor blades designed to lift 1,500 additional lbs on their own.

"This latest upgrade for the Chinook fleet is a tribute to the robustness of its original design."

The drivetrain will transfer greater power from the aircraft's engines to its new swept-tip rotor blades.

The current configuration of six fuel tanks will be reduced to two, allowing the aircraft to carry more fuel and shed weight, Boeing stated.

As part of the upgrade programme, the fuselage’s structure will be strengthened in critical areas, allowing the aircraft to carry an additional payload.

Designed for the US Army and international defence forces, the CH-47F advanced multi-mission helicopter features a fully integrated, digital cockpit management system, as well as a common aviation architecture cockpit and advanced cargo-handling capabilities.

Image: Boeing will build and test three US Army CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopters as part of a modernisation effort. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.