The long delay being considered by the U.S. Army on production of an upgraded Chinook helicopter could have devastating consequences for Boeing’s workforce in Ridley Township, writes Loren Thompson for Forbes.
The Chinook, or CH-47F, is the signature airframe built at the Delaware County complex.
If the Army decides to go ahead with delaying the Block II upgrades, every part of Boeing’s strategy for sustaining both jobs and profits in Delaware County would be undermined. Other rotorcraft built at the site will cost more to manufacture as overhead will be spread across a smaller number of airframes.
Also, foreign sales of Chinooks will become harder to book. This may force out workers with less seniority.
Boeing got an inkling of what might be coming, when news surfaced that Block II might end up paying for other priorities in the Army budget process.
Under the plan being considered, 69 Block II Chinooks would still be produced for special operations forces with deliveries beginning in 2020. However, this is just a small part of the original order of 473 airframes.
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