Boeing will provide its MH-139 helicopter and related support to the U.S. Air Force to replace the more than 40-year-old UH-1N “Huey” helicopters used to protect America’s intercontinental ballistic missile bases. The U.S. Air Force UH-1N Replacement Program plans to replace the current Huey fleet, which entered service in the 1970s. The Air Force is expected to order up to 84 helicopters, with the first entering service by 2021. The MH-139 exceeds mission requirements, it’s also ideal for VIP transport, and it offers the Air Force up to $1 billion in acquisition and lifecycle cost savings.”
The MH-139 derives from the Leonardo AW139, which almost 900 AW139s are in service with more than 250 governments, militaries and companies across the world. More than 250 of the helicopters have been assembled and delivered from Philadelphia. Leonardo will assemble the helicopters at its northeast Philadelphia plant, with Boeing integrating military-specific components at its facility south of that city. The contract also includes operations, maintenance, training systems, and support equipment for the MH-139 aircraft.
The AW139 intermediate twin engine helicopter global fleet has reached an outstanding milestone of two million flight hours, across all operational scenarios on five continents, while performing a wide range of missions with commercial, government and military operators. This accomplishment was reached just three years after the achievement of the first million showing impressive reliability, effectiveness, safety and supportability across a range of missions. Among some of the latest innovative systems available for the type are the LIPS and FIPS (Limited and Full Icing Protection Systems, respectively), and the OPLS (Obstacle Proximity Lidar System) that enhance mission capability and safety.
The AW139 has significantly grown its capabilities in years. This includes a maximum take-off weight extension (MTOW) to 7,000 kg for newly built and retrofitted aircraft, and as a result, new Cat A offshore enhanced procedures, avionic suite releases delivering ADSB-Out (automated dependent surveillance-broadcast), TCAS II (Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System), RNP performance (Required Navigation Performance), EGPWS update (Enhanced Ground Proximity System), Wide Area Augmentation System/Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance, and many other features.