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Affectionately known as the 'Wokka' thanks to it's distinctive sound, the CH-47 Chinook is a well-known tandem rotor heavy lift helicopter. Originally entering service with the US Army 61 years ago, as the HC-1B - a larger and heavier development of the HC-1A which became known as the CH-46 Sea Knight. Equipped with a large central cargo hold accessed via a rear ramp, the Chinook was capable of carrying vehicles, boats, or significant number of troops. Not only did the type possess an excellent cargo hold but it could also carry heavy loads externally slung under the fuselage on three cargo hooks. During the Falklands War, a single RAF Chinook knowns as Bravo November was able to achieve the air lift of 81 troops at once - this well know Chinook is now on display in the RAF Museum Midlands at RAF Cosford. The most recent versions developed are the CH-47F and the MH-47G, the latter is configured for special operations for the US Army.
The RAF have operated the Chinook since 1980 and acquired the helicopter to replace the Bristol Belvedere and consisted as a mix of CH-47C and modified CH-47C models with more powerful engines. These were all updated to CH-47D standard (known as HC2) during the early 1980s. The current RAF fleet consists of a mix of MH-47E (HC5), CH-47F (HC6) and heavily updated HC2s, now designated as the HC6A. Whilst the RAF own and operate the entire UK Chinook fleet, they are all under the command of Joint Helicopter Command (JHC). The JHC combines all the battlefield helicopters of the Army Air Corps, Royal Navy and RAF under a single military command structure centralised around the Army.
The JHC will be sending the RAF Chinook display team to perform at this year's Air Tattoo. The helicopter is being provided by RAF Odiham. Photo Credit: Kev Storer