CAB receives new Chinooks
2nd General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), 1st Aviation Regiment (1st AVN), Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), 1st Infantry Division received new Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters
US Army, October 22, 2012 - The Army's latest version of an aircraft that has been helping feed, transport, supply and save America's fighting men and women for more than 50 years arrived Sept. 20 at Fort Riley's Marshall Army Airfield.
Four "straight from the factory" CH-47F Chinook helicopters took their spots in their new home on the 1st Infantry Division's flight line, following a trip that originated at the Boeing plant in Philadelphia. The new aircraft will be flown and serviced by the Soldiers with the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.
"(This aircraft) is absolutely better for the troops on the ground," said Lt. Col. Brian Hughes, commander, 2nd GSAB, 1st Avn. Regt. "The F Model brings with it a new level of communication and avionics … That the old models never even thought about having."
The twin-engine, tandem rotor Chinook helicopter has undergone numerous changes since it was first introduced into the Army inventory in 1962 to be used in Vietnam. The latest version features a "glass cockpit" that dramatically increases situational awareness for the pilots. A new "moving map" display and an integrated Blue Force Tracker system are just a few of the improvements the Soldiers who fly the Chinooks seem particularly excited about.
"This (version) is a lot safer," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kevin Jordan. "You have more knowledge of airspeed, groundspeed, direction and drift … And, the communications suite is a lot more robust, so it allows us to communicate better with the ground forces and other aircraft."
Jordan, who has flown the F Model in Iraq with the 1st Cavalry Division, said he is looking forward to introducing his fellow "Big Red One" Soldiers to the new aircraft.
"I think this is going to give this division a lot more capability," he said.
The addition of the CH-47F Chinooks to the CAB's inventory marked a significant milestone in the brigade's modernization timeline. The Big Red One's aviation brigade is now home to the latest models of not only the Chinook, but also the UH-60M Blackhawk and the Apache Block III, making the Fort Riley based CAB the most modern in the Army.
"The 1st Inf. Div. has the greatest Soldiers in the Army, and we are blessed with a lot of great resources and great equipment," Hughes said.
Soldiers with the 2nd GSAB, 1st Avn. Regt. will begin training on the new helicopters at the end of October. The course will focus primarily on classroom and simulator time and will include about 15 hours of actual in-the-aircraft flight time.
Although the exact cost of the new Chinooks was unavailable, Hughes said "you really can't put a price tag on a machine that is going to keep Soldiers safer, both in the air and on the ground."
"They are worth every penny," he said.
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1st CAB 1st Combat Aviation Brigade US Army Aviation
Fort Riley Marshall AAF