In collaboration with Leonardo Helicopters US, Boeing has marked a milestone in the MH-139A Grey Wolf programme as it concludes the RDT&E phase and gears up for low-rate initial production.
The focus shifts to delivering national security capabilities for missions.
Boeing has successfully handed over the sixth and final RDT&E aircraft to the US Air Force (USAF), signalling the completion of the testing phase.
Azeem Khan, MH-139 programme director, emphasised the significance of this milestone: “Delivering all of the RDT&E aircraft to the Air Force enables them to continue critical operational testing and allows Boeing to focus on building the first production aircraft.
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“The Grey Wolf will provide the Air Force with crucial national security capability improvements. This is an important step in getting the aircraft into service.”
The first production aircraft is scheduled for delivery in 2024, with Boeing in the final assembly stage for the initial batch of 13 helicopters under contract. The company aims to provide 80 MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters to the USAF, marking an advancement in capability and technology.
In 2022, Boeing successfully delivered four MH-139A Grey Wolf test helicopters to the USAF. The USAF conducted its inaugural combined test flight of Boeing’s MH-139A Grey Wolf multi-mission helicopter at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
With 3.4% of the North American military rotorcraft market, Boeing is projected to be the second-largest shareholder in the region, according to GlobalData’s The Global Military Rotorcraft Market 2023–2033 report.
Robert Beyer, MH-139 senior programme manager at Leonardo Helicopters US, expressed excitement about entering the production phase. “With the final test aircraft delivered, we are headed into an exciting production phase,” he said.
“With the MH-139, the United States Air Force is getting a faster and more capable aircraft to bring them into a new era of service for this mission. Leonardo is incredibly proud of this aircraft, and we look forward to the continued partnership with Boeing and the USAF as we deliver additional Grey Wolf helicopters.”
The MH-139A Grey Wolf is poised to replace the ageing UH-1N Huey, assuming roles such as protecting intercontinental ballistic missiles across the US and transporting VIPs and security personnel. This transition signifies an advancement in the Air Force’s fleet, providing a more efficient and adaptable solution for national security missions.