Boeing has received a three-year, $267 million contract from the US Army that will see it build three modernised CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters.
The rotorcraft will be built to a CH-47F Block II standard, the company says. The primary objective is boosting the CH-47's lifting power.
Boeing says the work will include an improved drive train and swept-tip rotors. The new rotors, on their own, will be able to lift an additional 680kg (1,500lb). The helicopter's current six fuel tanks – three on each side – will become two, "allowing the aircraft to carry more fuel to be carried and shed weight".
The aircraft's structure will also be strengthened. All work will be done at Boeing's Philadelphia site.
The new Block II-standard Chinooks will be built from 2018, with testing to start in 2019. First deliveries will follow in 2023, the company says.
Boeing expects the US Army to upgrade more than 500 Chinooks to the Block II configuration.