Boeing (NYSE: BA) has delivered the last of six MH-139A Grey Wolf test helicopters to the U.S. Air Force, marking the program’s transition from research and development phase to low rate initial production.
The helicopters are slated to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of Bell UH-1N Hueys that perform missions such as off-base nuclear weapons convoy surveillance and routine missile site support. The service has operated the military variant of the Bell 212 since 1970.
The final research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) MH-139A was delivered to the Air Force in October, Boeing said Monday.
The first MH-139A reached final assembly at Leonardo’s northeast Philadelphia facility in June. [Courtesy: Boeing]
“Delivering all of the RDT&E aircraft to the Air Force enables them to continue critical operational testing and allows Boeing to focus on building the first production aircraft.” Azeem Khan, MH-139 program director, said in a statement. “The Grey Wolf will provide crucial national security capability improvements to the Air Force. This is an important step in getting the aircraft into service.”
Boeing is the prime contractor for the MH-139A, which will be built by OEM Leonardo at its facility in Philadelphia. After final assembly, Boeing will then make modifications and install all needed military equipment.
According to Boeing, the first production aircraft will be delivered in 2024.
“With the final test aircraft delivered, we’re headed into an exciting production phase,” said Robert Beyer, MH-139 senior program manager at Leonardo Helicopters US. “With the MH-139, the United States Air Force is getting a faster and more capable aircraft to bring them into a new era of service for this mission.”
Production at full throttle!
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) November 20, 2023
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