Boeing announced that it will build six more MH-47G Block II Chinooks for the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command as part of a $246.48 million contract.

The additional six aircraft will be the first to include the new Active Parallel Actuator Subsystem (APAS), a mission system that helps pilots execute more difficult maneuvers while improving safety and reliability of flight.

“APAS is one of many next-level capabilities that allows the Chinook to deliver more payload – faster, farther and smarter,” said Boeing’s vice president and H-47 program manager Andy Builta in a statement. 

Delivery of these aircraft are scheduled to start in 2023. With this additional order, Boeing is now under contract for 30 MH-47G Block II Chinooks, four of which have been delivered to date.

The MH-47G Block II Chinook also features improved structure and weight reduction initiatives like new lighter weight fuel pods that increase performance and efficiency.

Chinooks were first used in combat in 1965 during the Vietnam conflict. During the last days of the war, one Chinook is reported to have carried 147 refugees in a single lift. CH-47A, B and C models served until the war's end in 1975.

After the Vietnam War, Boeing and the Army began a major fleet upgrade that led to development of the CH-47D. Almost 500 early model Chinooks went through an extensive modernization process in Philadelphia that produced an essentially new H-47 fleet. 

Chinooks have served more than 19 international armed forces and commercial service around the world. The U.S. Army and the UK Royal Air Force have been its two largest users.

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The US Army awarded Boeing a contract worth $136 million ordering four new Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.