CH-47 Chinook: Advanced Multi-mission Helicopter

The CH-47 Chinook advanced multi-mission helicopter is a beast of a machine. It has been serving the US military for over 50 years, and it’s seen a lot of action. It can carry soldiers, enough supplies for an army, move an M777 Howitzer into battle and even transport a tank. 

Making its mark

The CH-47 Chinook is the U.S. Army’s primary heavy troop and supply transport aircraft. Originally fielded in the Vietnam War, it has undergone a series up upgrades to increase lift and airworthiness in combat. The Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Enduring Freedom are some of the military missions in which it has taken part. It has become a crucial weapon in the armory of the US military due to its speedy and effective ability to transport troops and supplies to far-off regions.

CH-47F Chinook helicopter
CH-47F Chinook helicopter performs a maneuver called a pinnacle, hovering with only the rear wheels touching the edge of a cliff

Chinook has the power

Powered by two turboshaft engines giving it the ability to lift over 20,000 pounds of cargo, making it a true powerhouse of the skies. The twin-rotor design (and sound) are some of its distinguishing characteristics. The two rotors’ opposed rotational axes provide the helicopter with more stability and control. This enables it to carry greater weight than single-rotor helicopters making it perfect for transporting soldiers and heavy supplies to outlying areas. 

CH-47 Chinook from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade carries a M777 Howitzer
CH-47 Chinook from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade carries a M777 Howitzer from the 25th Infantry Division Artillery (DIVARTY)

Various applications

The CH-47 Chinook has been used in numerous military operations over the years. Its ability to quickly and efficiently deliver supplies and troops to remote locations has made it a crucial asset in the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Enduring Freedom. The Chinook’s versatility and reliability have earned it a place among the most respected and trusted platforms in the military.

Battle of Roberts Ridge

One of the most famous stories involving the CH-47 Chinook helicopter is the “Battle of Roberts Ridge.” This battle occurred during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan in 2002 and demonstrated the Chinook’s bravery and versatility in combat. During the battle, a Chinook was sent to extract a team of US Army Rangers surrounded by enemy forces on a ridge.

The Chinook was tasked with flying into the heart of the enemy’s position to extract the Rangers and their wounded comrades. It was able to fly into the area under heavy enemy fire, with bullets ricocheting off its fuselage. Despite the danger the crew pressed on and successfully extracted the Rangers who were airlifted to safety.

Ch-47 Chinook helicopter
Ch-47 Chinook helicopters take off in the early morning in support of Operation Anaconda

Disaster relief

In addition to military uses, the Chinook has also been used in numerous disaster relief and humanitarian missions. Its heavy-lifting capabilities and versatility make it a valuable asset in these missions. It was used in hurricane relief efforts where it delivered supplies and rescue people trapped by rising waters. The Chinook was also used in earthquake response efforts, where it was used to transport rescue teams and supplies to areas that were difficult to reach by road.

Hurricane Maria relief supplies
Service members to assist in delivering relief supplies to Dominica in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria

Still going strong 

In recent years, the Chinook has undergone numerous upgrades to enhance its capabilities and improve its performance. The latest CH-47 model features advanced avionics, navigation systems, and communication equipment that provide the crew with the tools they need to carry out missions successfully. The Chinook’s cargo hold has also been enlarged, allowing it to carry even more supplies and troops to remote locations.

CH-47 Chinook helicopter cockpit
CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilots from the 159th General Support Aviation Battalion fly after taking off from Felker Army Airfield, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.

The Chinook’s heroic efforts have not gone unnoticed. Its contributions to military operations and humanitarian missions have earned it a place in the hearts and minds of aviation enthusiasts. The Chinook symbolizes the bravery and determination of the US military and the people who serve it. It is a gentle giant that has made a difference in countless lives.

U.S.Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter
A U.S.Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter assigned to U.S. Army Europe’s 12th Combat Aviation Brigade (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Glenn M. Anderson, USAREUR Public Affairs / Released)