Barksdale AFB, La. — A ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, at Duke Field, Florida, to accept the first delivery of the MH-139A and announce the name of the Air Force’s newest helicopter.
The MH-139A is the first service-unique helicopter acquired by the Air Force and the first major acquisition in Air Force Global Strike Command’s 10-year history. It will replace the Vietnam-era UH-1N “Hueys” which have capability gaps in the areas of speed, range, endurance, payload and survivability in support of the command’s intercontinental ballistic missile missions.
The aircraft will land in front of the hangar, at which time AFGSC Commander Gen. Tim Ray will step out and initiate the naming ceremony. Air Force senior leaders and key industry officials are expected to attend.
The helicopter was acquired from Boeing through a full and open competition at a cost of $2.38 billion for up to 84 aircraft â€” acquisition officials saved $1.7 billion in the program for taxpayers. It is the command’s first commercial “off-the-shelf” purchase, adding military-unique modifications.
The MH-139A will provide security and support for the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile fields which span Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska, all with increased range, speed and payload. Other missions include civil search and rescue capabilities, airlift support, National Capital Region missions, survival school and test support.
The aircraft will provide vertical airlift and support the requirements of five Air Force major commands and operating agencies: Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Force District of Washington, Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Materiel Command and Pacific Air Forces. AFGSC is the Air Force lead command and operational capability requirements sponsor.