FOLSOM, Pa., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Boeing announced the formal opening of a renovated, $130 million CH-47 Chinook manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania.
The factory renovations will allow Boeing to increase Chinook production rates to six aircraft per month from the current rate of four per month.
Boeing in 2008 was awarded the initial CH-47F multiyear contract to deliver 215 CH-47F Chinooks to the U.S. Army, generating more than $450 million in taxpayer savings over single-year procurements. Boeing has delivered 143 CH-47F aircraft and trained and equipped eight units, including those in Germany and Hawaii.
"This upgraded facility will allow Boeing to increase production and work toward securing a second CH-47F multiyear contract, with the potential to generate taxpayer savings in excess of $400 million," said Jean Chamberlin, vice president and general manager of Boeing's Ridley Township's Mobility Division.
"Multiyear contracts enable double-digit percentage savings for the taxpayer and allow industry to make long-term investments in people, facilities and technology."
The CH-47 Chinook's first flight on Sept. 21, 1961, was followed by its first delivery to the U.S. Army in August 1962. In 1965, CH-47s entered combat as they deployed with the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division to Vietnam. Since that time, the Chinook has been continually modernized and upgraded, evolving into the technologically advanced and capable U.S. Army CH-47F and Special Operations MH-47G platforms currently in service.