The Transport Helicopter Battalion V (BHELTRA V) is the unit that groups the largest helicopters of the Spanish Army Airmobile Forces (FAMET): the Boeing CH-47D Chinook.
Built in the United States and designated in Spain as HT.17, the Chinook is a heavy helicopter dedicated to transport tasks. It is easily recognizable by its two rotors of three blades each located in tandem: one forward and one aft. It made its first flight in 1961 and is still being manufactured. In the Vietnam War some 750 Chinook took part, of which about 200 were lost in accidents and in combat. They have also fought in the Iran-Iraq War, in the Falklands War, as well as in the recent battles of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Its fuselage is 30 meters long and its empty weight is 10 tons. Driven by two turboshaft engines that give it an output of 3,802 hp each, it is capable of reaching a speed of 315 km/h with a range of 741 km. Its load capacity is 12.7 tons. It can lift various loads through slings, from vehicles to artillery pieces, and even to other helicopters, as you may have seen in the Spanish movie «Zona hostil» last year. Inside it can also transport small vehicles and inflatable boats. Since the helicopter has a certain amphibious capacity, these boats can be launched directly from the helicopter, a capacity that is often used by the Special Operations Command (MOE) of the Spanish Army.
The 17 Chinook of the BHELTRA V have a crew composed of two pilots, 4 crew members and 3 shooters (the latter taking charge of M-60 machine guns). In addition, they can load inside 33 equipped soldiers. In sanitary evacuation configuration, the helicopter can transport up to 24 stretchers. The FAMET also use the Chinook as a jumping platform for the troops of the Parachute Brigade (BRIPAC). Yesterday I found in the American portal DVIDSHUB an interesting video of the NATO Channel about the home of these giants of BHELTRA V: the Base «Coronel Maté» of Colmenar Viejo (Madrid). In the video we can see the hangars and the maintenance operations that are carried out in them.
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