“Advancing the program from testing and evaluation to production is a major step toward entering the MH-139 into service and providing the U.S. Air Force with additional missile security for decades,” said Azeem Khan, Boeing’s MH-139 program director, in a press release. The aviation company plans to deliver its batch of 13 helicopters beginning next year.
An advanced offering for high-stake operations
According to Boeing, MH-139A’s advanced design would ensure that missions are done more efficiently. Compared to Bell UH-1N Huey helicopters, MH-139A offers a 50 percent increase in speed and range and an increase of 5,000 pounds max gross weight. “The aircraft can execute the U.S. Air Force’s mission of protecting intercontinental ballistic missiles across the country.”
Boeing remains the primary contractor for the project, while Italian defense firm Leonardo will act as an original equipment manufacturer. The production of the helicopters will be done at Leonardo’s plant in northeast Philadelphia. At the same time, Boeing will handle the “military equipment procurement and installation and post-delivery support of the aircraft.”
The firm claims that MH-139A offers a state-of-the-art avionics system with advanced flight deck functionality and improved situational awareness resulting in reduced crew workload. Furthermore, it is an “off-the-shelf, readily available solution that leverages repurposed technologies from proven Boeing Rotorcraft programs to guarantee performance, flexibility & safety.”