MH-139 Grey Wolf - UH-1N ‘Huey’ Replacement
Leonardo announced 02 March 2017 , through a Boeing-led collaboration, the intention to competitively offer an aircraft for the U.S. Air Force UH-1N ‘Huey’ Replacement Program. With Boeing as the prime contractor, the AW139-based MH-139 was unveiled in Orlando at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium.
As the prime contractor, Boeing will compete for the supply of up to 84 helicopters to perform critical security and transport missions offering the MH-139, based on the Leonardo AW139 produced in Philadelphia. The competitiveness of Leonardo’s products are confirmed by a Boeing estimate of more than $1 billion in savings in acquisition and lifecycle expenses over 30 years with the MH-139.
The U.S. Air Force UH-1N Replacement Program plans to replace the current Huey fleet -- which entered service in the 1970s -- with up to 84 new helicopters. “The Huey replacement is of vital importance to the Air Force, and the MH-139 is the right solution for those missions,” said Judy Fedder, director of Global Sales & Marketing, Boeing Integrated Logistics, and a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant general. “The fact that the AW139 is being built today on an active production line will speed it to meet the time-critical demand following the competition.”
Almost 900 AW139s are in service with more than 250 governments, militaries and companies across the world. More than 250 of the helicopters have been assembled and delivered from Philadelphia. Based on the bestselling AW139, already produced in Philadelphia, the MH-139 is a modern, multi-mission, non-developmental, low risk, high performance helicopter sized to meet the 84-aircraft requirement to replace the aging U.S. Air Force ‘Huey’ devoted to critical security and transport missions. The MH-139 offers more than $1 billion in savings in acquisition and lifecycle expenses over 30 years when compared with competitor aircraft.
The Boeing MH-139, based on a fully type-certified FAA FAR Part 29 helicopter, provides a capable, affordable, and ready to serve platform for the U.S. Air Force’s UH-1N Replacement Program. Proven to excel in the most demanding environments around the world, the MH-139 will meet all U.S. Air Force requirements and demonstrates a robust spectrum of capabilities with unmatched versatility. The Boeing MH-139 leverages more than a decade of service, derived from the AW139 built in Philadelphia, with a fleet of almost 900 aircraft, serving more than 250 customers worldwide, spanning more than 1.7 million flight hours.
Mauro Moretti, Leonardo CEO and General Manager, said “The outstanding superior technology and operational capabilities of our products, including the AW139, once again allow us to compete for significant market opportunities, such as the U.S. military modernization competitions. We have a long-established presence in U.S. - commercially, industrially, and with local support and collaborations in various sectors. The MH-139 features all the best characteristics to meet the demanding expectations of the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. taxpayer.”
Boeing announced Sept. 24, 2018 that it would provide its MH-139 helicopter and related support to the U.S. Air Force to replace the more than 40-year-old UH-1N “Huey” helicopters used to protect America’s intercontinental ballistic missile bases. The program award was valued at $2.4 billion for up to 84 helicopters, training devices and associated support equipment.
“We’re grateful for the Air Force’s confidence in our MH-139 team,” said David Koopersmith, vice president and general manager, Boeing Vertical Lift. “The MH-139 exceeds mission requirements, it’s also ideal for VIP transport, and it offers the Air Force up to $1 billion in acquisition and lifecycle cost savings.”
The MH-139 derives from the Leonardo AW139, which is used by more than 270 governments, militaries and companies worldwide. Leonardo will assemble the helicopters at its northeast Philadelphia plant, with Boeing integrating military-specific components at its facility south of that city. The contract also includes operations, maintenance, training systems and support equipment for the MH-139 aircraft.
“We’re proud to provide the U.S. Air Force with solutions across the entire services ecosystem,” said Ed Dolanski, president of U.S. Government Services, Boeing Global Services. “With the AW139 platform’s more than 2 million flight hours and established supply chain, we look forward to applying our expertise to drive cost savings while supporting mission readiness.”
Air Force Global Strike Command named the MH-139A helicopter "Grey Wolf" during a naming ceremony at Duke Field, December 19, 2019. Gen. Timothy Ray, AFGSC commander, made the announcement, comparing it to the wild animal that bears the same name. The Grey Wolf is the command's first major acquisition in its 10-year history. The name Grey Wolf is derived from the wild species that roams the northern tier of North America, which also encompasses the intercontinental ballistic missile bases in AFGSC. "It strikes fear in the hearts of many," Ray said. "Its range is absolutely inherent to the ICBM fields we have." "As they hunt as a pack, they attack as one, they bring the force of many," he continued. "That's exactly how you need to approach the nuclear security mission." The helicopters will provide security and support for the nation's ICBM fields which span Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska. The new helicopter closes the capability gaps of the UH-1N Huey in the areas of speed, range, endurance, payload and survivability in support of the command's ICBM missions. Other mission capabilities include civil search and rescue, airlift support, National Capital Region missions, as well as survival school and test support.
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