On 7 March 2023, Boeing announced that it will begin the follow-up production of the first MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters for the USAF. This, following an award of a $285 million USAF contract for 13 helicopters, sustainment and support services. With this latest contract, the MH-139A programme has now shifted from testing and evaluation to production. On 17 September 2022, Scramble Magazine wrote about how the USAF accepted ownership of the first four MH-139A Grey Wolf test helicopters.
Eventually replacing the USAF-fleet of obsolete UH-1N Hueys, it is expected that Grey Wolf follow-up deliveries will begin in 2024, a little later than planned, to the MH-139A Formal Training Unit(FTU) at Maxwell AFB (AL).
Based on Italy's Agusta Westland (Leonardo) AW139, the MH-139A’s enhanced capabilities allow it to accomplish missions more quickly, quietly and efficiently. With a 50 percent increase in speed and range, and an increase of 5,000 pounds max gross weight, the helicopter can execute the USAF’s mission of protecting InterContinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) across the United States. Although some 17 firm orders have been made until now, it is expected that a minimum of 84 helicopters will be inducted by the USAF.
Credit photo: USAF
Credit patch: www.aviatorgear.com