In mid-August 2022, the U.S. Air Force accepted ownership of four MH-139A Grey Wolf test aircraft – mere weeks after Boeing completed the final Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certification required for the MH-139A to achieve its Military Flight Release. Prior to ownership, the aircraft went through rigorous acceptance test conducted by Air Force Global Strike Command Detachment 7 and 413th Flight Test Squadron pilots. These accomplishments allow the Air Force to conduct testing of critical military capabilities of the MH-139A as the program progresses towards Milestone C.
“Leonardo’s 139 helicopter has an impressive pedigree of performance in multiple missions in the civil, public, and military domains. The built-in system redundancies and physical performance of the aircraft show great potential for improving on the myriad of missions that have been covered by the venerable Huey for so long. We’re excited to get it into test and find out what it can really do,” said Lt. Col. Josh Hallford, Chief, MH-139 Standardization and Evaluations MH-139 Test Detachment 7.
The MH-139A Grey Wolf will replace the Air Force fleet of UH-1N aircraft, offering a significant capability increase in speed, range, endurance, payload, and survivability. The U.S. Air Force will acquire 80 MH-139A helicopters, training devices, and associated support equipment. The MH-139A will provide vertical airlift and support to four Air Force Major Commands and other operating agencies including Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Materiel Command, Air Force Reserve Command, and the Air Force District of Washington (AFDW).
The MH-139A is the military version of the commercial Leonardo AW139 twin-engined, medium-sized helicopter. Built at Leonardo’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania factory, the helicopter’s military components are added by prime contractor Boeing after initial assembly. The MH-139A Grey Wolf 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. Air Force Global Strike Command is the lead command and operational capability requirements sponsor.