On 13 January, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation has released his 2020 annual report on major Defense Department weapon systems, highlighting the identified issues with new fully composite blades of Chinook CH-47F Block II helicopter.
Developed by Boeing and the U.S. Army, the ACRB is a new fully composite blade with a swept-tip design.
The Pentagon’s independent tester reports that The most recent Advanced Chinook Rotor Blades (ACRB) design produces excessive vibrations in-ground, hover, and forward flight that may cause a safety of flight risk.
According to the report, Chinook aircrews reported prolonged fatigue and other physiological conditions due to excessive vibrations following a developmental test flight using the redesigned ACRB’s.
The Pentagon’s chief weapons tester stated that initial ARCB designs were stable but did not provide the power improvements predicted by computational models.
The Program Office is examining the issue and determining the potential effect of the program’s Limited User Test in the third quarter of the fiscal year 2021, per the DOT&E report.
The CH-47 Chinook is a twin-engine, tandem rotor, heavy lift helicopter. A true workhorse that was designed and produced in the early 1960s, this aircraft is the Army’s only heavy-lift cargo helicopter.
Chinook Block II combines new technologies, including the Advanced Chinook Rotor Blade, redesigned fuel tanks, a strengthened fuselage, and an improved drivetrain – all aimed at increasing lift capability. With these technological advancements, Chinook Block II expected that will provide commonality across the fleet and enable our soldiers to return home safely for decades.