The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded the first portion of a $2.38bn contract to Boeing for the delivery of MH-139 helicopters.
Under the firm-fixed-price contract, the company will be responsible for providing the airforce with up to 84 MH-139 helicopters, in addition to associated operations, maintenance, training devices and support equipment.
The new aircraft fleet will help replace the existing UH-1N Huey twin-engine medium military helicopters that have been in service with the USAF for more than 40 years and will be used to protect the country’s intercontinental ballistic missile bases.
Valued at approximately $375m, the current award for the first four MH-139 aircraft includes the integration of non-developmental items, which would ensure that the helicopters are ready to meet troop requirements.
Boeing Vertical Lift vice-president and general manager David Koopersmith said: “We’re grateful for the airforce’s confidence in our MH-139 team.
“The MH-139 exceeds mission requirements, it’s also ideal for VIP transport, and it offers the airforce up to $1bn in acquisition and lifecycle cost savings.”
The UH-1N Replacement Program has been designed to provide enhanced capabilities to troops and ensure the necessary speed, range, endurance and carrying capacity required to address the requirements of five airforce major commands.
The MH-139 fleet will be deployed by the USAF to carry out training, test and operational support airlift operations.
The new aircraft are based on Leonardo’s AgustaWestland AW139 twin-engined helicopters, which are assembled at the company’s north-east Philadelphia plant in the US.
Additional military-specific components will be integrated on to the MH-139 aircraft at the Boeing facility in Ridley Township, Pennsylvania, US.