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.