Boeing says it is beginning production on the first 13 MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters for the US Air Force following a $285 million contract award.
The MH-139A is set to replace the Air Force’s UH-1N Huey fleet, with the service planning to buy up to 84 airframes. The new helicopter closes the capability gaps of the UH-1N in the areas of speed, range, endurance, payload and survivability in support of the command’s intercontinental ballistic missile missions.
Boeing is starting production work on the first serial production helicopters after delivering the initial four units to the air force for military utility testing in August last year.
“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,” said Azeem Khan, Boeing’s MH-139 program director. “We are working diligently to begin deliveries next year.”
The MH-139A team consists of Boeing, as the prime contractor, and Leonardo as an original equipment manufacturer. Leonardo produces the helicopter at its plant in northeast Philadelphia, while Boeing is responsible for military equipment procurement and installation and post-delivery support of the aircraft.
The helicopters will provide security and support for America’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) fields which span Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska. Other mission capabilities include civil search and rescue, airlift support, National Capital Region missions, as well as survival school and test support.
The MH-139A Grey Wolf will provide vertical airlift and support the requirements of five Air Force major commands and operating agencies: AFGSC, Air Force District of Washington, Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Materiel Command and Pacific Air Forces. AFGSC is the lead command and operational capability requirements sponsor.
“My teammates at Leonardo, together with Boeing, are eager to continue our partnership and ensure the success of the MH-139A program,” said Clyde Woltman, CEO of Leonardo Helicopters US.