FORT BLISS, Texas – Spread across Biggs Army Airfield, and tucked in between the mountains surrounding it, were Blackhawks, Apaches – and yes, Chinook helicopters.
The Boeing CH-47 Chinook has been the US Army’s main soldier and supply transport aircraft since it was first put into service in the early 1960s.
In 2013, the Army upgraded a number of its Chinooks to the CH-47F versions, which, among many other improvements, turned the old analogue gauges in the cockpit to full-glass cockpits with multi-functional displays.
I got a chance to see the CH-47F up-close during our recent trip to Fort Bliss.
Here’s what I saw:
Here’s a wide view of the Biggs Army Airfield, with Chinooks and Apaches in the background.
The CH-47D is a tandem rotor aircraft, meaning it has two sets of blades, with two T55-GA-714A turboshaft engines that can lift and transport 19,500 pounds.
Its top speed is 184 mph, with a maximum range of 400 miles.
Here’s a close-up of the nose emblazoned with the 1st Armored Division’s Old Ironsides emblem.
It’s also fitted with three M240 7.62 machine guns, one of which would be mounted on the side hatch below one of the pilots who showed me around.
Major Rogers, pictured above, told me has been in the service for nearly 20 years and has deployed several times to Iraq and Afghanistan.
It’s also equipped with chaffs, which are radar countermeasures.
And flares, which are heat-seeking countermeasures.
Here’s a shot of the back with the hatch open.
The CH-47 can hold up to 33 troops, not including the three-man crew.
The cabin has 42 square cubic meters of space, able to carry a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, as well as a 105mm howitzer and its crew at the same time.
Finally, here’s a short video of the cockpit in which Rogers and another pilot talk about the main components.