I owe Boeing an apology: I can think of no reason to write a story about the CH-47F Chinook.
This, despite the fact that Boeing flew me and several others on the corporate jet to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to witness a ceremony today recognizing the CH-47F's first unit equipped. While no quid pro quo is stated, I somehow feel bad, like I'm letting them down.
Quite simply, the CH-47F is a boringly successful program. There hasn't been a major cost overrun since 2002, and that was mostly due to an internal Boeing restructuring that shifted overhead costs from space programs onto all the other divisions. Moreover, the new model doesn't add mission or payload capability so much as make the Chinook much better and safer at what it already does. Boooorrrrriiiinnnnggggg.
Instead, I wanted to know about the juicy stuff. The CH-47F has just been fielded, but, may I ask, what's going to happen with the long-rumored growth version of the Chinook? Is there really enough growth margin in this 49-year-old aircraft program to make it worth it?
I also wanted to know the juicy updates about the CSAR-X program. To wit: what's Boeing going to do if Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky decide to drag the contract dispute through the courts AND the congressional appropriations process? What is Boeing's strategy to win after it already won? Has the company contacted, ahem, Al Gore's old campaign team for lessons learned?
I got some of the answers I was looking for, which you can read about in next week's magazine. But I've still got nothing new and interesting to write about the good old CH-47F. Again, my apologies.
"What the 'F'?"(Source: Boeing)