On March 3, the US Air Force announced its decision to start initial production of the MH-139A “Grey Wolf” helicopters, thus allowing Boeing and Leonardo to announce the contract for the delivery of the first 13 units. The start of these production activities will lead to the supply of the first operational helicopters which will replace the current UH-1N fleet with deliveries in 2024.
The Gray Wolf is a multi-mission helicopter based on Leonardo's AW139, a highly successful model which today boasts over 1130 units in service worldwide. The Gray Wolf is designed to protect ICBMs and to carry US government and security forces personnel.
"This decision represents a major step toward getting MH-139 into service and providing the US Air Force with even greater missile safety in the coming decades," said Azeem Khant, MH-139 program director for Boeing. “We are working hard to start deliveries next year.”
“Leonardo's staff engaged in the program together with our partner Boeing look forward to continuing this collaboration and are strongly committed to ensuring the full success of the fleet,” added Clyde Woltman, CEO of Leonardo Helicopters US.
The strength of the MH-139A is based on the collaborative efforts of Leonardo as the helicopter manufacturer and Boeing as prime contractor responsible for militarization and program support. Leonardo produces the civilian-certified multi-mission helicopter at its Philadelphia site while Boeing is responsible for the procurement and installation of military equipment, as well as post-delivery support. With a successful model like Leonardo's AW139 and advanced technology from Boeing, the US Air Force gets the best helicopter in response to its important operational needs.
The MH-139A's advanced capabilities allow it to perform missions faster, quieter and more efficiently. With a 50 percent increase in speed and range and a 5000-pound increase in maximum gross weight over the UH-1N, the helicopter is well positioned to perform US Air Force-assigned missions in the protection of military sites. ICBMs in the country.
The Boeing-Leonardo team was awarded a contract worth $2,4 billion in September 2018 for up to 84 helicopters, training systems and related support equipment. In August 2022, the US Air Force accepted the first four helicopters currently deployed for further development tests and start of operational activities.