Boeing announced that it will begin production on the first 13 MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters, after the company was awarded a $285 million US Air Force contract for aircraft, sustainment and support services.
Boeing will be working alongside helicopter and aerospace developer and manufacturer Leonardo for the MH-139A project. Boeing is the prime contractor for the project, and Leonardo is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
Leonardo will produce the helicopter at its plant in northeast Philadelphia, while Boeing will be responsible for military equipment procurement and installation and post-delivery support of the aircraft.
Boeing said that it aims to deliver the first MH-139A to the US Air Force by 2023.
“Advancing the program from testing and evaluation to production is a major step toward entering the MH-139 into service and providing the U.S. Air Force with additional missile security for decades,” Azeem Khan, Boeing’s MH-139 program director said in a statement.
“We are working diligently to begin deliveries next year,” Khan added.
According to Boeing, the MH-139A will replace the UH-1N Huey, which the US Air Force had been using since 1970 for various missions, including search and rescue.
The MH-139A’s enhanced capabilities allow missions to be accomplished more quickly, quietly and efficiently. With a 50% increase in speed and range, and an increase of 5,000 pounds max gross weight, the aircraft can execute the US Air Force’s mission of protecting intercontinental ballistic missiles across the country.