The US Air Force is scheduled to receive its first MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters in 2024, as Boeing begins production to replace the UH-1N Huey utility military helicopter.
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The Grey Wolf production run includes 13 helicopters built by Boeing as the prime contractor, and equipment manufacturer Leonardo under a US Air Force contract worth $285 million for aircraft, sustainment, and support services.
Under the contract, Leonardo will produce the helicopters at its Philadelphia plant, while Boeing is responsible for military equipment procurement, installation, and post-delivery support of the aircraft.
The multi-mission aircraft is based on the Leonardo AW139 commercial helicopter and is expected to provide security for intercontinental ballistic missile bases and transport officials and security forces.
Boeing MH-139 program director Azeem Khan said using the proven AW-139 platform and integrating additional military capabilities into the MH-139A, provides the US Air Force with the most capable product for the mission.
“Advancing the program from testing and evaluation to production is a major step toward entering the MH-139 into service and providing the US Air Force with additional missile security for decades,” he said.
“We are working diligently to begin deliveries next year.”
Leonardo Helicopters US chief executive officer Clyde Woltman said the MH-139A’s has a 50 per cent increase in speed and range, and an increase of more than 2,200 kilograms max gross weight to accomplish missions more quickly, quietly, and efficiently.
“My teammates at Leonardo, together with Boeing, are eager to continue our partnership and ensure the success of the MH-139A program,” he said.