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The U.S. Army intends to acquire 464 CH-47Fs. Under current plans, this total includes 218 new-production helicopters and 246 remanufactured aircraft. In the future, though, this planned mix of new-builds versus rebuilt machines could change somewhat.
In addition, it is possible that the overall 464-unit requirement will increase. The Army has discussed the possibility of remanufacturing all of its CH-47Ds (instead of only 246) to the F standard.
Sikorsky's CH-53K program is currently in its System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase. Sikorsky will deliver seven prototype aircraft during the SDD phase. Four will be used in flight testing. Of the remaining three, one will be used for static testing, one as a dedicated ground-test vehicle, and one in fatigue testing. The Pentagon announced in March 2010 that the scheduled first flight of the CH-53K has been pushed back to 2013, but the year saw good news as well when the program passed its Critical Design Review in mid-2010. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) - once scheduled for 2015 - has been pushed back into 2018.
The U.S. Army plans to award Sikorsky a new Black Hawk multiyear contract in 2012. The five-year contract would cover the period from FY12 to FY16. However, the service intends to significantly slow Black Hawk procurement during this timeframe compared to previous plans. The Army currently intends to procure 309 Black Hawks during the FY12-FY16 time period, compared to 356 under previous plans. The Army still intends to acquire a total of 1,375 M-model Black Hawks over the life of the UH-60M program. The 1,375-unit objective includes 956 UH-60Ms and 419 HH-60M medevac helicopters.
Production of the Lockheed Martin F-16 is forecast to end during the forecast period, but recent orders have allowed the manufacturer to extend production at least past the middle of the decade. The current F-16 backlog includes orders from Morocco (24 aircraft), Egypt (20), Turkey (30), Iraq (18), and Oman (12).
Source: W. Alibrandi, Aircraft Engines, NEWTOWN, Conn. | Forecast International, Inc. News - 24 August 2012
Photo: The first production CH-47F Chinook hovers above the Boeing Philadelphia flight ramp during recent system checks. (Photo by www.sflorg.com)