Boeing (NYSE: BA) said it will begin building the first 13 MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters under a $285 million contract with the U.S. Air Force for aircraft and support services.
The choppers are slated to take over nuclear security roles currently performed by aging UH-1N Iroquois models.
“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. “We are working diligently to begin deliveries next year.”
Boeing said the MH-139A incorporates enhanced capabilities that allow it to accomplish missions more quickly, quietly, and efficiently than the aircraft it is replacing. Improvements include a 50-percent increase in speed and range, and an increase of 5,000 pounds of its maximum gross weight.
READ MORE: Air Force Begins Testing ‘Huey’ Replacement Helicopter
The team producing the MH-139A includes Boeing, the prime contractor, and Leonardo, the original equipment manufacturer. Leonardo will build the helicopter at its plant in Philadelphia while Boeing will procure and install additional military equipment and provide support for the aircraft after delivery.
“My teammates at Leonardo, together with Boeing, are eager to continue our partnership and ensure the success of the MH-139A program,” said Clyde Woltman, CEO of Leonardo Helicopters U.S.
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