Friday, July 27, 2012

50 Years In Service, Chinook's Next Hope Is India

PHOTO / U.S. ARMY
On August 16, the Boeing CH-47 Chinook achieves the formidable feat of being 50 years in service. It was on that date in 1962 when the first CH-47A was delivered to the US Army. Amazingly, the airframe is still flying. In fact, it recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan, and is now being remanufactured, refurbished (35% of the original platform will remain) and prepared for redeployment back to Afghanistan by the end of the year. Boeing in fact believes that with prospective orders from the US Army, the USAF for combat search and rescue copters, and foreign customers, the Chinook could well be in service for a century.

The CH-47F, as is well known, competes for an Indian Air Force contract against the Russian Mil Mi-26 T2, the world's largest helicopter, for a heavylift copter contract. Trials on both platforms happened in 2010-11. Mark Ballew, director for Rotorcraft Business Development at Boeing Defense in Philadelphia says, "The Mi-26 is still in the competition, so we have no reason to believe that they didn't perform well in the trials."

I got the sense that while Boeing is fully confident of a win in the IAF attack copter competition (will be touring the Apache facility in Mesa, Arizona on Monday), it is still only cautiously optimistic on the heavylift bid that calls for 15 helicopters. Also, the Indian Air Force already operates a small number of Mi-26s from its Chandigarh station. Boeing sources say the Chinook's versatility, availability and deployment patterns have persuaded the IAF on the advantages of a tandem rotor system.The Chinook on offer to the IAF is very similar to the one operated by the US Army, but, as with all equipment, will be without speech encryption, certain sensors and communications kit protected under CISMOA.

And of course there was a question about this photograph ;)

Landed in Seattle today. Tour of the P-8A/I facilities in a few hours.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Activities by some contractors in Afghanistan has created some strong properganda in the CH-47 vs. Mi-26 debate.

Does India want the Chinook or the chopper that carries the Chinook?

Anonymous said...

MI-26 is better.....

Anonymous said...

Mi-26 is better...

Dev said...

Bro, I don't see how the Chinook can be better than the Mi-26, the Halo performs better than the Chinook on all parameters! The fact is technically the Halo is a "younger" model and far more useful at high altitudes than the chinook, for instance the americans contracted a Russian company to use a Halo to pick up a downed Chinook off of an Afghani mountainside!! Of course one has to concede that the chinook is now been considerably "pimped out" with advanced kit but for high altitude ops the Halo has no match IMHO

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Seattle, Shiv! I hope you get time to see the Museum of Flight. The displays of a Concorde, F-15, former Air Force One plane and NASA Shuttle trainer should be very interesting, apart from the Boeing factory tour that I assume you will already be on.

-SC.

Joy said...

Mi-26 is like a Boeing 747 with rotor blades. Mi-26 is like a beast in the helicopter world.

Joy said...

And welcome to the US Shiv! I live in Boston.

sents said...

India doen't have anything like CH-47 Chinook. For Pure cargo lifting MI-26 holds a upper hand, but Chinook can land in very small and narrow strips, it can land in water too. Its very agile.
It will be a good choice, if India selects Chinook. We will be ready for any kind of scenario.

Anonymous said...

Few days back Obama accused India for its bad economic policy leading to blockage of FDI policy,civil nuclear deal,retail sector reform,etc. Also without CISMOA all US equipments will be easy prey to enemy bullets. So before commenting about India's policy they should first talk about removing hurdles like CISMOA,MTCR and then expect for long term business with India in defence sector.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=268B_VXQ-Kw

This video speaks for itself

Anonymous said...

http://www.chinook-helicopter.com/sling_loads/Dead_Weight.html

Anonymous said...

Just because Mi-26 can list a Chinook, that doesn't mean it's the one India should buy. I am sure there are several Parameters where Mi-26 comes ahead of Chinook, but the fact that it can lift Mi-26, is not one of them, unless that is the only specific reason for having the Mi-26. Frankly, we already have the Mi-26, may be we can use them to lift the Chinooks if we purchase them. After all that is the only good quality some of you have been pointing out. By the way, I am not for or anti any of the two aircrafts, I am just pointing out the flaw in the argument for one vs the other.

Anonymous said...

Sell the Chinook to India and donate missiles to bring down the same Chinook to Pakistan. Jai Ho!

Rahul Devnath said...

If i'm not wrong, Indian Air Force, didn't had a very good service record with the Mi-26s. Saying, IAF oprates "few" of them will be optimistic, precisely only 2 of them are left. While CH-47 might 50 years old, its has been constantly updated, similar to C-130 (though not that extensively). Apart from air lifting a Mig-21, some tanks, Mi-26s have seen very limited usage in IAF, i'm sure Chinook is a much more versatile platform, let's see what we get eventually.

Anonymous said...

Mi-26 will be able to lug around a 155mm cannon to far of high altitude places. the shear lift capacity of Mi-26 gives it a upper hand.

Chinook can be useful for smaller loads. both are needed

Piyush said...

Chinook fares well in competition with Mi 26. Chinook can land in narrow strips and water, also. This makes it extremely useful in regions like Siachen and Northeast. Also procuring Chinooks will be a cornerstone in Indo US relations. This will help us in maintaining and stabilisisng relations with the only superpower in the world. We should diversify our equipment supplies more and more towards West from Russia to secure good economic, defense and political ties with West, to ensure our long term prosperity and development.