The Army is eyeing a Milestone C decision for the CH-47F Chinook Block II in 2025. (Boeing)

AAAA 2024 – The Army will award Boeing a CH-47F Chinook Block II full-rate production contract in late fiscal 2025 if all goes as planned, according to a senior service official. 

Following years of back and forth over the fate of the heavy-lift helicopter line, in February the service announced it was moving forward thanks, in part, to dollars freed up by canceling development of the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). Now the Army and company are working toward a full-rate production decision around the July to September 2025 timeframe, Brig. Gen. David Phillips, the Program Executive Officer for Aviation, told reporters Wednesday.

Boeing recently announced the maiden flight for its first production Block II Chinook and plans to formally deliver the first aircraft to the service in the coming weeks, according to Heather McBryan, the company’s vice president and program manager for cargo helicopter programs.

Speaking with reporters at the Army Aviation Association of America’s conference in Aurora, Colo., she said the plan is to deliver another three helos this year under the Lot I buy, and two more next year under the Lot II purchase.

“They’re going to take these aircraft and do some additional testing” as part of the process of getting to that full-rate production decision next year, McBryan said. 

“We’re working with them on what the longer-term kind of contracting strategy looks like for Block II as we look to the future,” she added. The Army’s fiscal 2025 budget request details plans to produce about six Block II Chinooks per year under low-rate production but the goal is to ultimately acquire 534 helos — rebuilding or replacing 69 MH-47G Block I Special Operations aircraft and 465 CH-47F Block I aircraft.

While it isn’t clear what annual full-rate production number the duo will settle on, from Boeing’s vantage point, production line efficiency hovers around 30 to 36 aircraft per year, according to McBryan. That figure, though, could be a combination helos bound for the US military and international customers.