The US AIr Force is to begin operational testing of the MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter after it received four of the aircraft from Boeing last week.
The MH-139A Grey Wolf multi-role aircraft is a modified version of Leonardo’s popular and well-proven AW139 commercial helicopter and is designed to protect intercontinental ballistic missiles and transport US officials and security forces. More than 1100 twin-engined AW139s have been made and are in use around the world by companies, security and armed forces.
The Grey Wolf will replace the US AIr Force’s aging fleet of the Bell-made UH-1N helicopters, also known as “hueys”.
Boeing was awarded a US$2.4 billion contract in September 2018 to supply 80 Grey Wolfs, alongside training systems and associated support equipment.
Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift said, “The Grey Wolf is a modern, versatile aircraft offering greater range, speed and endurance than the UH-1N Huey it replaces.
“I am proud of our team who, along with our partner Leonardo, helped us to achieve this milestone – a tremendous first step in a long line of Grey Wolf deliveries”.
The delivery of the four test aircraft follows the FAA issuing a supplemental type certificate for the Grey Wolf. The US Air Force will now proceed with what it terms “Military Utility Testing” as the program progresses.
The aircraft has already been through an acceptance test conducted by US Air Force Global Strike Command Detachment 7 and 413th Flight Test Squadron pilots.
Leonardo produces the helicopter at its plant in northeast Philadelphia, while Boeing is responsible for military equipment procurement and installation, as well as post-delivery support of the aircraft.
Clyde Woltman, CEO of Leonardo Helicopters US said, “We are thrilled that the first four MH-139As have been accepted by the US Air Force. This aircraft is well-positioned to become an important asset in the defense and security of the United States.