Boeing Begins Production Of MH-139 Grey Wolf Helicopter



An MH-139A Gray Wolf lifts off for a mission Aug. 17, 2022, at Eglin Air Power Base, Fla. The Gray Wolf sortie was the primary flight for the reason that Air Power took over possession of the plane Aug. 12. (U.S. Air Power picture/Samuel King Jr.)

The U.S. Air Power awarded a contract for the Low-Fee Preliminary Manufacturing of 13 helicopters that shall be delivered starting in 2024.

The U.S. Air Power reached the Milestone C resolution for the MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopter, awarding Boeing a $285 million contract to start the Low-Fee Preliminary Manufacturing of 13 helicopters, along with sustainment and assist companies. The initiation of low-rate manufacturing will yield the primary operational plane set to replace the U.S. Air Force’s current fleet of UH-1N “Huey” helicopters, with first supply slated for 2024.

“Advancing this system from testing and analysis to manufacturing is a serious step towards coming into the MH-139 into service and offering the U.S. Air Power with further missile safety for many years,” stated Azeem Khan, Boeing’s MH-139 program director. “We’re working diligently to start deliveries subsequent yr.”

The Gray Wolf is a multi-mission helicopter based mostly on Leonardo’s confirmed AW139 helicopter, designed to guard intercontinental ballistic missiles and transport U.S. authorities officers and safety forces. The MH-139A workforce consists of Boeing, as the prime contractor, and Leonardo as an unique gear producer. Leonardo produces the helicopter at its plant in northeast Philadelphia, whereas Boeing is accountable for army gear procurement and set up and post-delivery assist of the plane.

“My teammates at Leonardo, along with our companions at Boeing, are desperate to proceed our partnership and are absolutely dedicated to making sure the fleet’s success.”  stated Clyde Woltman, CEO of Leonardo Helicopters US.

A check MH-139A plane prepares for touchdown on the Boeing facility in Ridley Park. Manufacturing plane ,that are slated for supply beginning in 2024, will defend intercontinental ballistic missiles throughout the nation. (Fred Troilo picture)

Boeing and Leonardo say that the MH-139A’s enhanced capabilities enable it to accomplish missions more quickly, quietly and efficiently, with a 50 p.c enhance in velocity and vary, and a rise of 5,000 kilos max gross weight. The Air Power stated beforehand that the efficiency of the plane present nice potential for bettering on the myriad of missions which were lined by the venerable Huey.

The Boeing-Leonardo Workforce was awarded a $2.4 billion contract in September 2018 for as much as 84 helicopters (a quantity later diminished to 80), coaching methods and related assist gear. In August of 2022, the U.S. Air Power accepted the primary 4 helicopters that at the moment are getting used for extra developmental and preliminary operational testing.

Following the supply of the primary 4 helicopters, the MH-139 finally entered developmental testing, after experiencing surprising delays due to the mixing of defensive methods, an airspeed sensor and the FAA certification. Whereas the industrial AW-139 is already licensed by the FAA, the MH-139 conversion wants FAA-approved Supplemental Sort Certifications (STCs) for military-specific gear.

The delays resulted within the delay of the acquisition of eight helicopters financed within the FY2021 finances and the cancellation of the acquisition of eight MH-139s from the FY2022 finances, pushing again the manufacturing of the helicopter. In the intervening time, the helicopter will endure 15 months of testing to validate the security of the plane and outline the boundaries and maneuvers that may be carried out, ensuring the MH-139A meets AFGSC necessities for operational missions.

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based mostly in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally finding out to attain a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT strategies utilized to the world of army operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.


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