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Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight

Medium utility helicopter

CH-46 Sea Knight

The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter is still regularly flown by the US Marines

Entered service 1965
Crew 5 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 13.92 m
Main rotor diameter 16 m
Height 5.1 m
Weight (empty) 7 t
Weight (maximum take off) 11 t
Engines and performance
Engines General Electric T58-GE-8 turboshafts
Engine power 2 x 1 250 hp
Maximum speed 265 km/h
Service ceiling 4.3 km
Ferry range 680 km
Combat radius 300 km
Machine guns 2 x 12.7-mm, 1 x 7.62-mm


   The Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight is a medium utility helicopter, developed for the US Marine Corps. Its primary function is to support assault forces. Initial production model was known as the CH-46A. This helicopter made its maiden flight in 1962. The Sea Knight entered service with the US Marine Corps in 1965. Also it was adopted by the US Navy, Production ceased in 1971 with over 500 helicopters built, including variants. The Sea Knight has been exported to Japan, Saudi Arabia, Sweden. Some of these helicopters are in service with civil operators. Its commercial version is commonly known as Vertol.

   This cargo helicopter was retired from the US Navy service in 2004 and replaced with the MH-60S Knighthawk. The US Marine Corps retired the Sea Knight in 2015, after 50 years of service. In the USMC service the Sea Knight is being replaced with the new MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor transport.

   The Sea Knight was used as assault transport, carried supplies and equipment. Additional tasks included combat support, search and rescue, forward refueling, medical evacuation.

   The Sea Knight has two tandem rotors and two engines. The CH-46A is fitted with two General Electric T58-GE-8 turboshaft engines, developing 1 250 hp each. Engines are mounted on each side of the rear rotor. The engines are coupled and in case of emergency the Sea Knight can fly with only one engine operational.

   The CH-46 has a crew of 5, including 2 pilots, 1 crew chief, 1 aerial gunner/observer, 1 tail gunner. The Sea Knight can be also operated by a crew of 3, depending on mission requirements. This helicopter accommodates up to 17 troops in its cargo compartment. Alternatively it can carry litters and medical attendants. This transport helicopter can carry various loads (up to 1 850 kg). It can also carry up to 4 500 kg loads underslung externally. The Sea Knight has a rear loading ramp.

   The Sea Knight is armed with two 12.7-mm machine guns on each side and one 7.62-mm machine gun for self-defense. However these weapons are fitted optionally.




   CH-46A initial production model. A total of 160 of these helicopters were built;

   UH-46A a multi-purpose cargo variant for the US Navy. It was introduced in 1964. This helicopter was commonly used for vertical replenishment role for ship resupply;

   CH-46D, improved model for the US Marines, fitted with modified rotor blades and more powerful engines, rated at 1 400 hp. This model could carry 25 troops or over 3 100 kg of cargo. Its deliveries commenced in 1966. Some existing CH-46A helicopters were upgraded to this standard;

   UH-46D an improved multi-purpose cargo variant of the US Navy, similar to the CH-46D;

   CH-46F the final production model fitted with improved avionics. It also had some other modifications. This helicopter was delivered to the US Marines from 1968 to 1971;

   CH-46E upgraded model, fitted with new rotor blades, reinforced airframe, and uprated engines, developing 1 870 hp each. Around 275 of the USMC Sea Knights were upgraded to this standard;

   CH-113 Labrador, Canadian version of the Sea Knight, used in the search and rescue operations;

   CH-113A Voyageur, Canadian Army assault and utility transport version.


Video of the CH-46 Sea Knight utility helicopter


CH-46 Sea Knight

CH-46 Sea Knight

CH-46 Sea Knight

CH-46 Sea Knight

CH-46 Sea Knight

CH-46 Sea Knight

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