Boeing Aircraft

The Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight is a medium-lift tandem-rotor transport helicopter powered by twin turboshaft engines.


Boeing CH-46E Seaknight

Developed as a private venture to replace the Boeing F2B and F3B with the United States Navy, the Boeing P-12 first flew on 25 June 1928. The new aircraft was smaller, lighter and more agile than the ones it replaced but still used the Wasp engine of the F3B. This resulted in a higher top speed and overall better performance. As result of Navy evaluation 27 were ordered as the F4B-1; later evaluation by the United States Army Air Corps resulted in orders with the designation P-12. Boeing supplied the USAAC with 366 P-12s between 1929 and 1932. Production of all variants totalled 586.


P-12s were flown by the 17th Pursuit Group (34th, 73rd, and 95th Pursuit Squadrons) at March Field, California, and the 20th Pursuit Group (55th, 77th and 79th Pursuit Squadrons) at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. Older P-12s were used by groups overseas: the 4th Composite Group (3rd Pursuit Squadron) in the Philippines, the 16th Pursuit Group (24th, 29th, 74th, and 79th Pursuit Squadrons) in the Canal Zone, and the 18th Pursuit Group (6th and 19th Pursuit Squadrons) in Hawaii.

The P-12 remained in service with first-line pursuit groups until replaced by Boeing P-26s in 1934–1935. Survivors were relegated to training duties until 1941, when most were grounded and assigned to mechanic's schools.


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During the 1940s and 1950s, American rotorcraft manufacturer Piasecki Helicopter emerged as a pioneering developer of tandem-rotor helicopters; perhaps the most famous of these being the piston-powered H-21 "Flying Banana", an early utility and transport helicopter. During 1955, Piasecki was officially renamed as Vertol (standing for vertical take-off and landing); it was around this time that work commenced on the development of a new generation of tandem rotor helicopter. During 1956, the new design received the internal company designation of Vertol Model 107, or simply V-107; this rotorcraft differed from its predecessors by harnessing the newly developed turboshaft engine instead of piston-based counterparts.

Boeing CH-46E Seaknight

Following the Sea Knight's first flight in August 1962, the military designation was changed to CH-46A. During November 1964, the introduction of the Marines' CH-46A and the Navy's UH-46As commenced. The UH-46A variant was a modified version of the rotorcraft to perform the vertical replenishment mission. The CH-46A was equipped with a pair of T58-GE8-8B turboshaft engines, each being rated at 1,250 shp (930 kW); these allowed the Sea Knight to carry up to 17 passengers or a maximum of 4,000 pounds (1,815 kg) of cargo.

  • History

    Role Cargo helicopter

    National origin United States

    Manufacturer Vertol Aircraft Corp.

    Boeing Vertol

    First flight 22 April 1958 (V-107)

    Introduction 1964

  • Primary Users

    Primary users United States Marine Corps (historical)

    United States Navy (historical)

    Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (historical)

    United States Department of State

  • Variants

    Retired 2004 (United States Navy)

    2015 (USMC)

    Status In limited service

    Produced 1962–1971

    Number built H-46: 524

    Developed into Boeing CH-47 Chinook

Boeing CH-46E Seaknight


The Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight is a medium-lift tandem-rotor transport helicopter powered by twin turboshaft engines. It was designed by Vertol and manufactured by Boeing Vertol following Vertol's acquisition by Boeing.


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