Leonardo and Boeing have delivered the first of four MH-139A Grey Wolf test helicopters to the U.S. Air Force as the service looks to replace its aging fleet of UH-1N Hueys. The delivery comes after the FAA issued the last supplemental type certificate necessary to complete U.S. Department of Defense Form 250 and formally commence aircraft acceptance. Boeing and the Air Force will now continue with additional developmental and initial operational testing to support the aircraft.
The MH-139A Grey Wolf is based on Leonardo’s AW139 intermediate twin helicopter that was certified in 2004. Its primary mission will be to protect intercontinental ballistic missile bases and transport U.S. government officials and security forces. Boeing was awarded a $2.4 billion contract in Sept. 2018 for up to 80 helicopters, training systems, and associated support equipment. Leonardo produces the helicopter at its FAA-certified Part 21 facility in northeast Philadelphia, while Boeing is responsible for military equipment procurement and installation, and post-delivery support of the aircraft.
“The Grey Wolf is a modern, versatile aircraft offering greater range, speed, and endurance than the UH-1N Huey it replaces,” said Mark Cherry, Boeing's v-p and general manager of vertical lift.