July 12 (UPI) -- Boeing has been awarded a contract for the procurement of four MH-47G Block II Chinook helicopters for the U.S. Army.
The deal, announced Wednesday by the Department of Defense, comes under a $131.1 million modification to an existing contract.
The contract marks the start of a production run for the Block II Chinooks that is expected to last for about a decade, Boeing said.
"The Army uses the MH-47G for some of its most difficult and challenging missions," Pat Donnelly, director, H-47 Domestic and Foreign Military Sale Programs, said in a press release. "By incorporating key Block II features we significantly extend the service life, enhance performance, and maintain Chinook's position as the world's preeminent special operations helicopter."
The CH-47F Chinook is a twin-engine tandem rotor heavy-lift transport helicopter used by the U.S. Army and many allied nations, including the Netherlands and Turkey. Its primary mission is to transport troops and large payloads at high speed and long ranges.
It is primarily used for troop and cargo transport, sling-load operations and battlefield resupply. The CH-47 series has been in use since its introduction in 1962 and has been upgraded and refurbished many times.
The MH-47G has upgraded digital avionics and flight control systems, a stronger monolithic airframe and is designed for easier transportation by cargo aircraft.
The first model was delivered to Special Operations Command in 2014 and is used by the 160th "Night Stalkers" Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The Army currently has 69 MH-47G Chinooks.
The Block II upgrades for the newly contracted MH-47Gs will eventually be incorporated into most of the H-47 Chinook fleet of the United States, including a Block II configuration for the Army's CH-47F variant that is under development.
Work on the four new helicopters will be performed in Ridley Park, Penn., with a projected completion date of June 29 2020.
Fiscal 2018 other procurement, Department of Defense, and Army other procurement funds for the full amount of the contract have been obligated at the time of award.