Photo: MC3 Robyn Gerstenslager
From high-speed low-visibility inserts of specialised SEAL teams to simple ammo drops at middle of nowhere posts in Afghanistan, this beast has been servicing those in service for more than 50 years.It’s seen combat in so many different countries, if it were a soldier, it’d be one of the most decorated in the unit.
Boeing is currently celebrating 50 years of CH-47 Chinook production, with the helicopters first rolling off the line in 1962
The aircraft came to define a number of American conflicts, with unparalleled airlift abilities coming to centre stage in every war since Vietnam
The Chinook is a tandem-rotor helicopter, with each rotor spinning in a different direction to provide stability and manoeuvring
The Chinook saw extensive use placing artillery guns in the Vietnam War, moving material in Desert Storm, and carrying out air assault and casualty evacuation in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars
This Chinook is transporting a Humvee to a forward operating base in southern Afghanistan, saving the Humvee from a potentially dangerous highway trip
Here, a Chinook airlifts pallets of freshwater to Ocala, Florida in preparation for Hurricane Frances in 2004
The Chinook also has ample space inside to transport material, like these ready to eat meals going to Florida from the Oklahoma National Guard
Still, the Chinook can do much more than transport tethered cargo — it is also an exceptional troop transport
It can also have up to three 7.62mm machine guns mounted on the loading ramp or windows for ground assaults
At 98 feet long, it's a relatively spacious helicopter, which usually means that the limit for loading is weight, not space
With 50 years behind it, dual civilian and military use and years of unparalleled service, the Chinook will remain in production for years to come, and stay in service even longer
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