45 ft. 3 in.
16 ft. 8 in.
2 x 1,870 hp. ea.
CH-46 Sea Knight
The CH-46 Sea Knight, produced by Boeing Vertol, has been the backbone of the United States Marine Corps medium assault helicopter fleet. The first prototype flew on April 22, 1958. The model A was deployed with the U.S. Marines in June of 1964.
The U.S. Navy acquired the CH-46 Sea Knight in July of 1965, designating them UH-46. They are used for “shipboard vertical replenishment.”
The United States Army tested the CH-46, but never ordered the helicopter. They found it thinly armored and susceptible to heavy damage by small arms fire.
Although U.S. production of the CH-46 ended in 1971, the Sea Knight has had a long service career. Since 1966 it has also served in Grenada, Desert Storm, the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, and Lebanon. Canada, Japan and Sweden also fly the helicopter.
A crew of three, the pilot, co-pilot, and loadmaster sit in the CH-46 cockpit. The helicopter’s three bladed rotors spin in opposite directions. Engines mounted on top of the helicopter provide for more interior room. However, the helicopter is more susceptible to tipping over in less than perfect landings.
To facilitate the transportation of cargo, the helicopter floor is equipped with rollers. The CH-46 Sea Knight can also carry cargo externally from a cargo hook under its belly. The non retractable landing gear are able to withstand hard landings typical of assault helicopters. The front doors of the helicopter have mounts for .50 cal. machine guns for combat use.
Most Marines flew the model E version that used light weight, stronger, more efficient rotors made of fiberglass. Another version, called the “Bullfrog,” had twice the fuel capacity of prior models.
The CH-46 Sea Knight was retired by the Marine Corps in 2015 and the U.S. Navy in 2004.
A total of 669 CH-46 helicopters of all types were produced and some continue to fly throughout the world.