Boeing has commenced the production of the first 13 MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters under a contract worth $285 million awarded by the US Air Force for aircraft, maintenance, and support services.
The Grey Wolf is a multi-mission helicopter designed to safeguard intercontinental ballistic missile bases and transport US government officials and security forces. Azeem Khan, Boeing’s MH-139 program director, stated that moving to production from testing and evaluation is a significant step toward entering the MH-139 into service and ensuring missile security for decades.
He added that the team is working tirelessly to begin deliveries in the coming year.
The MH-139A Grey Wolf is based on Leonardo’s proven AW139 commercial helicopter and possesses enhanced capabilities that allow it to perform missions faster, quieter, and more efficiently. It can execute the US Air Force’s mission of protecting intercontinental ballistic missiles all over North American territory, with a 50% increase in speed and range and a 5,000-pound increase in maximum gross weight compared to the older, Vietnam-era UH-1N Huey.
The MH-139A team comprises Boeing as the prime contractor and Leonardo as the original model manufacturer. While Leonardo produces the helicopter at its Northeast Philadelphia plant, Boeing is responsible for procuring and installing military equipment and post-delivery support of the aircraft.
By integrating additional military capabilities into the MH-139A and offering a proven AW-139 platform, the Boeing-Leonardo team provides the USAF with the most capable product for the nuclear guardian mission.
Clyde Woltman, CEO of Leonardo Helicopters US, expressed his team’s eagerness to continue the partnership with Boeing and ensure the success of the MH-139A program.
The USAF received the first four aircraft, produced by Leonardo and modified by Boeing, in August 2020 for military serviceability testing. The contract covers the procurement of 80 MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters, replacing the UH-1N at about $2.4 billion.