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Home > UNS > 141015-02



SOF unit receives first new aircraft in 30 years

By Staff Sgt. JaJuan S. Broadnax
USASOAC Public Affairs

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Oct. 15, 2014)  - History was made as a new aircraft was unveiled at the Boeing Company in Ridley Park, Pa., Sept.29, 2014.

The New Build MH-47G was unveiled 30 days ahead of schedule at Boeing’s plant in Ridley Park, in front of several military leaders and hundreds of Boeing employees. It is the first new Chinook delivered to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) since the unit was activated in 1981.

“Today is indeed a historic moment as tail number 2901 represents the first ever, brand new MH-47G Chinook ever built specifically for Army Special Operations aviation,” said Col. Dean D. Heitkamp, U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command deputy commander.

Unlike some existing MH-47 models in the fleet with an average of 46-year-old airframes, the New Build MH-47G has a completely new airframe. The new, machined frame design will reduce production and life cycle sustainment costs while providing the 160th SOAR (A) with long term reconstitution capability. Its’ existence will enable the growth of the already existing MH-47 fleet.

“Throughout history, the MH-47 has remained the workhorse of the regiment, and the aircrews of the 160th employ the MH-47 in a manner unlike any other force in the world,” said Heitkamp. “This New Build MH-47G begins another new and exciting chapter for Army Special Operations aviation command. This aircraft inherently incorporates the best of the capabilities which enable them to achieve mission success in the most demanding environments and critical [Special Operation Forces] mission profiles.” ¬†

“From the beginning, I can tell you that this program was driven by an unwavering focus on the remarkable men and women of the U.S. Army, the U.S. ¬†Special Operations Command, the (U.S.) Army Special Operations Aviation Command, Technology Applications Program Office, the Systems Integration Management Office and, of course, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) and the ‘Night Stalkers,’” said Steve Parker, Boeing’s cargo helicopter program vice president and MH-47 program manager.

The new aircraft will go into service in August 2015 after following a series of flight tests and modifications to configure it to meet the unique 160th SOAR (A) mission requirements.