Chinooks are operated by a crew of 4 (pilot, navigator and 2 load masters). To be able to sneak in under enemy radar, SF pilots are trained to fly a tree-top level, often at night in which case night-vision glasses would be worn.
RAF SF Chinook HC2s are regularly armed with a variety of machine guns including a 7.62 mm M60 machine gun fitted to the rear and 7.62mm Miniguns fitted to the side ports.
The HC2 is fitted with an array of defensive aids to protect against missile threats. These include:
- infra-red jammers
- m130 chaff and flare launchers (usually fitted to the rear engine pylon)
- missile approach warning system
Following operational experience in Afghanistan in 2001, RAF HC2 Chinooks were upgraded with the Chinook Night Enhancement Package (NEP) which allows for low level flight at very low light levels and consists of:
- DNVG (Display Night Vision Goggles)
- Moving map display package
- IGI (Integrated INS/GPS computer)
The Chinook is a large helicopter that can carry up to 36 (33 troops + 3 crew). Chinooks feature 3 cargo hooks (triple hook system) attached to the helicopter's underbelly that can carry up to 10 tonnes as an under slung load. The spacious cabin can accommodate vehicles such as 110 Land Rovers or HTM 400s, which can quickly drive on and off via the Chinook's rear hydraulic ramp. Internal fuel bladders can also be carried to extend the helicopter's range.
Chinook HC2 Specifications
|Engine||2xTextron Lycoming T55-L712 or T55-GA-714A Turboshaft engines|
|Width (rotor diameter)||18.82m|
|Crew||4 (2 Pilots, 2 Aircrew)|
|Max Speed||259 kph|
photo credit : Adrian Pingstone, June 2004