By David Madden

RIDLEY PARK, Pa. (CBS) — They’re celebrating at the Boeing plant in Ridley Park, Delaware County, and with good reason. The Chinook helicopter program is 50 years old and it’s still going strong.

More than 1,200 choppers have come out of this facility over the years, and not just for the United States Army.

Twenty foreign governments have Chinooks in their fleet because they’re strong, sturdy and flexible.

Leanne Caret heads up the Chinook program.

“Quite frankly, it’s all about keeping the fleet relevant. So the aircraft of today perform very complex, multi-mission scenarios that 30 years ago, the aircraft wouldn’t have performed,” Caret explained.

They’re upgrading rotors to increase payload and renovating the plant where they’re built.

With 6,000 people working at the plant, Boeing is Delaware County’s largest employer and half of the force is involved in the Chinook program.

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