CH-47 Chinook helicopter

Eaton has received a contract to conduct routine maintenance and repair of the electric pump for utility system hydraulic accumulator (EPUSHA) recharge system present on the US Army’s CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters.

Awarded by the Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command (AMCOM), the contract requires the company to sustain and repair a total of 109 EPUSHA accumulator recharge units, ensuring the service continues to reap benefits of the technology.

Initiated by the flip of a switch, EPUSHA is designed to rapidly pressurise the accumulator, for starting the main engines of the aircraft in a tenth of the time taken by the manual process, avoiding costly delays and reducing potential for injuries.

Eaton Aerospace Group military aftermarket-Americas director Mike Ruple said the company’s solution can be easily transferred from one helicopter to another, and be used by multiple branches of the US military.

"We’re excited about our teamwork with the army in developing an improved start-up feature on the CH-47, as well as the positive impact it has made in supporting US troops," Ruple added.

Commenting on the system, Alabama Air National Guard former sergeant Paul Phillips said: "It enhances safety and resource reduction, as well as aircraft readiness, which is of utmost importance in supporting military operations. When they need the aircraft, it’s ready to go."

"It enhances safety and resource reduction, as well as aircraft readiness. When they need the aircraft, it’s ready to go."

Previously, the helicopter start-up process required two personnel to hand-pump the accumulator in an up-and down motion for 18 to 20 minutes until a 3,200psi pressure was achieved.

EPUSHA was made a condition of deployment for the army’s entire CH-47 fleet following extensive evaluations, and is currently being incorporated into new production and retrofitted into older models.

The system has also been adopted by other helicopter groups in the armed forces for installation on their aircraft, including the Marine Corps’ CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters.

Around 1,100 EPUSHA kits have been delivered to the military since 2006 by Eaton, which has also partnered with Boeing to qualify the system for international users.

Image: A US Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter drops off supplies at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force by senior airman Steven R Doty.

Defence Technology