The Army has yet to set a limited-user test for the CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopter after the service looked at potentially reexamining its schedule following issues with its new advanced rotor blade.
A January report from the Pentagon's chief weapons tester said the most recent Advanced Chinook Rotor Blade design "produces excessive vibrations in ground, hover and forward flight that may cause a safety of flight risk."
"Aircrews reported prolonged fatigue and other physiological conditions due to excessive vibrations following a development test flight using the redesigned ACRBs," according to Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Robert Behler's annual report.
The report also noted the relevant program office was examining the issue and determining the potential effect on the limited-user test, or LUT, that was originally scheduled for the third quarter of this fiscal year.
"Our opportunity was either to execute the limited user test this year in March as originally scheduled, utilizing the legacy blade which we refer to as the fiberglass rotor blade . . . or, alternatively, not execute the LUT and instead wait until qualification of the LUT," Brig. Gen. Rob Barrie, program executive officer for aviation, told reporters April 29. "So, the decision the Army made at that time was to wait to execute the LUT until such time as we've completed Advanced Chinook Rotor Blade Development."
As for when the LUT will be rescheduled, it’s still "pre-decisional," Barrie added, saying the Army still has some work to do and is teaming with Boeing, the manufacturer of the aircraft, to "characterize the remaining technical challenges.”
"We're confident that we will be able to execute it, but I think we'd be pre-decisional to give . . . a timeframe for that," he said.