New Delhi. 01 September 2016. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar recently on his second visit to the US in eight months, visited Boeing’s facility in Philadelphia. The attraction was to see the manufacturing unit which is making the CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters India is adding onto its inventory. The government had last year placed order an for 15 Chinook helicopters valued at over US $2.5 billion with Boeing. These helicopters are slated to be for a 2019 entry.

Boeing Rotorcraft Systems (formerly Boeing Helicopters and before that Boeing Vertol) is the former name of a US aircraft manufacturer, now known as the Mobility Division of Boeing Military Aircraft, a division of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. The headquarters and main rotorcraft factory is in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia.

Boeing Helicopters was created as Boeing Vertol when the Vertol Aircraft Corporation (formerly Piasecki Helicopter) company of Morton, Pennsylvania was acquired by Boeing in 1960; the Vertol name was an abbreviation for Vertical Take Off and Landing. Other names by which the division sometimes referred to itself in correspondence over the years were “Boeing Aircraft Company, Vertol Division” and “Boeing Philadelphia”. The company was responsible for the design and production of the CH-46 Sea Knight and the CH-47 Chinook. The name became Boeing Helicopters in 1987, and the current name was adopted in 2002.

Production of Apache attack helicopters in Mesa, Arizona, formerly part of Rotorcraft Systems, is now under the Global Strike Division of Boeing Military Aircraft and it may be recalled that India is also buying 22 Apache from Boeing.

The first AH-64 rolled off the production line in Mesa in 1983, and the plant has solid production through 2026. Right now, it takes 48 days for an Apache to go through the production line, and nearly 2,200 have been made. Parts for these helicopters come from about 400 international suppliers.