The US Air Force (USAF) has completed its first combined test flight of Boeing’s MH-139A Grey Wolf multi-mission helicopter.

The flight test was carried out at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, US, with a Boeing pilot in command. It gave the USAF its first in-flight look at the capabilities of the aircraft.

Following the test, Zach Roycroft was made 413th Flight Test Squadron lead test pilot for the programme.

Roycroft said: “This first flight with Boeing was a critical step for the MH-139A programme and allows us to establish a foundation for government testing.”

Boeing concluded extensive flight-testing on MH-139A Grey Wolf to satisfy the requirement of Federal Aviation Administration prior to the introduction of mixed contractor and airforce crews.

Initial military ground testing of the programme is expected to be completed later this month.

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MH-139A flight chief Andrew Whitten said: “This flight represents a tremendous amount of work and we are all very excited to see it happen.”

The MH-139A closes the capability gaps of the UH-1N in the areas of speed, range, endurance, payload and survivability. It is set to replace the USAF’s fleet of UH-1N Huey, a twin-engined, medium military helicopter.

In December last year, the USAF named the Boeing MH-139A intercontinental ballistic missile base security and support helicopter the ‘Grey Wolf’.

Grey Wolf is based on the commercial AW139 helicopter designed to protect intercontinental ballistic missiles and transport US Government officials and security forces.

It will provide vertical airlift and support the requirements of five airforce major commands and operating agencies.