$8.8M for CH-46 Sea Knight Rotor Blades
Boeing Helicopter in Ridley Park, PA is being awarded an $8.8 million ceiling-priced order for manufacture of blade assemblies used on the U.S. Navy and Marines’ H-46 Sea Knight helicopters. This venerable aircraft’s primary mission areas in the Navy as the UH-46D include Combat Logistics Support and Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP), Search and Rescue, and Special Operations. As a Marine Corps platform, the CH-46E is used primarily during cargo and troop transport. The pictured aircraft in this post is a CH-46E.
Note that the CH-46, while outwardly similar in appearance to the Army’s CH-47 Chinook, is a different and smaller aircraft that’s about 15′ shorter, with different engines, and with far less load-carrying capacity. The CH-46 does, however, have the ability to land and taxi in the water in case of emergency, and is able to stay afloat for up to two hours in two-foot seas. Like the Chinook, its tandem rotor design enables it perform flight maneuvers such as rearward and sideward flight, while other helicopters are extremely limited. This makes the helicopter ideal for its primary Navy mission of vertical replenishment.
The Sea Knight completed production in the 1970s, and current safety and capability upgrades are interim measures to allow continued safe and effective operation of the Sea Knight fleet until it is replaced in the U.S. Marines inventory by the MH-60S Knighthawk. Rotor blade problems grounded the entire fleet in 2002, but after extensive checks most of the aircraft were returned to service.
Work on this contract will be performed in Ridley Park, PA and is expected to be complete by June 2007. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Inventory Control Point issued the contract (N00383-05-G-043N) (Order 5023).
Additional Readings & Sources
- Dept. of the Navy, Naval Historical Center – CH-46 and UH-46 Sea Knight
- GlobalSecurity.org – CH-46 Sea Knight
- Major Anthony M. Haslam, USMC, CSC 1995 – Marine Corps Medium Lift: How Do We Keep The H-46 Flying Into The Twenty-First Century?