Boeing [BA] received a five-year, $4.3 billion Army contract for 181 CH-48F Chinook helicopters and 10 more Chinooks under fiscal year 2008 supplemental funding.

The award contains options for an additional 24 aircraft over the course of the contract.

“This multiyear award will yield a cost savings of more than $449 million for the U.S. Army and taxpayers,” Jack Dougherty, vice president, Boeing H-47 Programs, said. “This also builds security into our production schedule for the next five years, stabilizing the work force for Boeing and for our supplier partners in more than 45 states.”

Col. Newman Shufflebarger, Army project manager for Cargo Helicopters, said: “The Army is committed to providing an outstanding CH-47F Chinook aircraft to our soldiers in the field. This multiyear award not only allows the Army to field this important aircraft at a substantial savings but enabled the contractor to enter long-term agreements for specialty metals to include titanium, which significantly reduced long-lead times for these critical materials. The Army was able to reduce the lead time associated with a new- build aircraft by six months.”

The procurement change comes from the FY ’08 National Defense Authorization Act, in which Congress allowed multiyear Chinook procurement beginning in 2008 (Defense Daily, April 8, Dec. 10).

Boeing is currently offering a Chinook variant to the Air Force for the Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR-X) competition (Defense Daily, Aug. 7). CSAR-X is about 85 percent common with the Chinook special operations G model, a variant of the Army F model.

Lt. Col. Thomas Todd, product manager for CH-47F, said of the new contract: “This multiyear settlement is the result of the tireless efforts of government and Boeing representatives. It ensures that our soldiers will maintain a technological advantage over our adversaries when it comes to heavy-lift missions.”

Ken Eland, chief engineer for Boeing Tandem Rotor Programs and capture team leader for the company’s CH-47F multiyear pursuit, said: “A long-term contract commitment is good for the warfighter, the Army customer and U.S. business. This award enables Boeing and our Team Chinook partners to make capital investments to reduce lead times for parts and components, improve parts availability and provide for a more accurate delivery schedule, which will enable greater precision in fielding the Chinook to U.S. Army units.”

Boeing Rotorcraft Systems has delivered 48 CH-47F helicopters to the Army to date and has fully trained and equipped two units, with a third unit scheduled to stand up in August (Defense Daily, Aug. 15).

Since the aircraft received its combat-ready certification from the Army in 2007, the F-model has completed several thousand flight hours, including deployments to Liberia in support of President Bush, and is currently undergoing its first deployment to Iraq.

As with its predecessors, the CH-47F continues to excel across the full spectrum of operational missions, including air assault, combat re-supply, humanitarian relief, search and rescue, and transport operations.

Built at the Boeing Rotorcraft Systems facility in Ridley Township, Pa., the CH-47F helicopter delivers greater mission-critical capability for the warfighter with a newly designed, improved airframe, a Rockwell Collins [COL] Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit, and a BAE Systems-designed Digital Advanced Flight Control System (DAFCS).

The CAAS greatly improves aircrew situational awareness, and DAFCS provides dramatically improved flight-control capabilities through the entire flight envelope, significantly improved performance and safety in the harshest of environments.

CAAS also incorporates an advanced digital map display and a data transfer system that allows storing of preflight and mission data. Improved survivability features include the Common Missile Warning and Improved Countermeasure Dispenser systems.

Powered by two 4,733-horsepower Honeywell [HON] engines, the new CH-47F can reach speeds greater than 175 mph and transport more than 21,000 pounds. With the Robertson Aviation Extended Range Fuel System, the CH-47F has a mission radius of more than 400 nautical miles.