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Boeing Wins U.S. Army Contract Worth $4 Bln For Chinook Helicopters

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Boeing Co. (BA) said Tuesday that it has signed a $4 billion five-yearcontract with the U.S. Army for the delivery of up to 215 Chinook CH-47F helicopters. The company noted that the multi-year contract will save the U.S. government more than $800 million.

Under the deal, the U.S. Army will buy 177 Chinook helicopters, with options that could increase its total buy to 215 aircraft. Deliveries of the medium-lift helicopters will begin in 2015. Boeing noted that the agreement is a cost-effective alternative to annually contracting for the aircraft.

Col. Robert Barrie, U.S. Army project manager for Cargo Helicopters said, "This multi-year contract provides unprecedented savings for the U.S. Army and American taxpayers. But the most important benefit is the continued support these aircraft will provide to soldiers in the field and civilians in distress."

The twin engine, tandem-rotor Chinook is used for combat, logistics and humanitarian operations by the U.S. Army and 18 other operators around the world.

CH-47F units have logged more than 86,000 combat hours in Afghanistan, maintaining an operational readiness rate of over 80 percent while conducting air assault, transport, and medical evacuation and support missions.

Chinook helicopters has been in U.S. Army service since 1962, and models A, B and C were deployed in Vietnam. The first CH-47F helicopter, an upgraded D model, was fielded to the first operational unit in July 2007. These helicopters are designed to extended the service life of the Chinook class at least through the 2030s.

The multi-mission helicopter is capable of handling useful loads up to 24,000 pounds and a maximum gross weight of up to 50,000 pounds. Its tandem-rotor configuration also provides exceptional handling qualities that enable the helicopter to operate in climatic, altitude and crosswind conditions that typically keep other helicopters from flying. The helicopter has a top speed of 170 knots or 315 km/hour.

Boeing noted that the latest order would eventually bring the Army's CH-47F total procurement close to its target of 464 aircraft, including 24 to replace peacetime attrition aircraft. The Army's current inventory stands at 241 F-model aircraft.

Currently, 15 Army active duty and National Guard units operate the CH-47F, while a 16th unit is currently being equipped with the helicopters.

Chuck Dabundo, vice president, Boeing Cargo Helicopter Programs said, "The Army is benefiting not only from the efficiencies of a multi-year contract but also from the production efficiency gains Boeing and our suppliers have made. That includes the $130 million investment we made to modernize the Chinook factory."

In Tuesday's regular trading session, BA is trading at $101.39, down $0.85 or 0.83 percent on a volume of 331,076 shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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