Boeing and Leonardo have teamed up to launch the MH-139 helicopter, which is intended for the US Air Force’s (USAF) UH-1N Huey replacement programme.
The programme aims to replace the USAF's existing fleet of Huey with 84 new helicopters to perform critical security and transport missions.
The 'Huey' fleet currently protects intercontinental ballistic missiles and transports US government and security forces, Boeing stated.
Boeing Integrated Logistics Global Sales & Marketing director Judy Fedder said: “The Huey replacement is of vital importance to the Air Force, and the MH-139 is the right solution for those missions.
“The fact that the AW139 is being built today on an active production line will speed it to meet the time-critical demand following the competition.”
The MH-139 helicopter is based on Leonardo Helicopters' modern, non-developmental, multi-mission helicopter, AW139.
The new variant is said to offer more than $1bn in savings in acquisition and lifecycle expenses over 30 years when compared with competitor aircraft.
Currently, close to 900 AW139s are in service with more than 250 governments, militaries and companies across the world.
Leonardo CEO and general manager Mauro Moretti said: “The outstanding superior technology and operational capabilities of our products, including the AW139, once again allow us to compete for significant market opportunities, such as the US military modernisation competitions.
“The MH-139 features all the best characteristics to meet the demanding expectations of the US Air Force and the US taxpayer.”
The USAF is expected to issue the final Request for Proposal in July this year while a contract is anticipated to be awarded in 2018.
Image: The MH-139 helicopter. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.