Army Helo Market Pegged at $10 Billion

Market opportunities for the Army’s helicopter fleet will average about $10 billion per year over the next decade as the service modernizes its rotary-wing assets, according to analysts.

The current inventory includes UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters, AH-46 Apache attack helicopters, CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters and UH-72 Lakota light utility helicopters. All but the Lakota are still in production today.


Delay In U.S. Army Upgrade Of Chinook Helicopter Would Devastate Boeing Workforce In Pennsylvania

The Boeing Company?s helicopter plant in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania is an oasis amidst industrial decay. The lower Delaware Valley was once America?s manufacturing heartland, hosting the world?s biggest builder of locomotives (Baldwin), the biggest television production site (Philco), refineries and shipyards. Most of that is gone now, leaving the 4,200 skilled workers at the Boeing complex as a striking exception to recent economic trends.

But a potential change of plans by the U.S. Army could soon bring devastating news for hundreds of employees at the Boeing plant ? not to mention workers in a supply chain stretching from the Midwest to Florida. The Army is contemplating a long delay in the production of an upgraded version of its CH-47F ?Chinook? helicopter ? the signature airframe built at the complex.

Boeing is readying Chinooks for the future fight, but is the effort in jeopardy?

WASHINGTON ? Boeing will put its newest CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters with major upgrades through flight tests beginning next year as well as demonstrate a new engine and is setting the stage to bring autonomous capability to the heavy-lift aircraft.

While the service hones in on Future Vertical Lift aircraft geared toward replacing UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters and AH-64 attack helicopters as well as fill a gap left open when the Army retired its OH-58 Kiowa Warrior armed scout helicopters by the early to mid 2030s, the Vietnam-era Chinook is expected to keep flying well into the 2050s.

Replacing the heavy lift aircraft is last on the Army?s FVL development and procurement list. That program likely won?t initiate until the 2040s with initial production starting in the 2050s.