LONDON – Leonardo and Boeing have successfully delivered the first four MH-139A Grey Wolf test helicopters to the United States Air Force (USAF), as replacements for the ageing fleet of UH-1N helicopters.
The Grey Wolf is a multi-role helicopter which is developed on the platform of Leonardo’s best-selling AW139 helicopters. This particular military modification is designed to carry intercontinental ballistic missiles and transport U.S government officials and security forces.
US Air Force acceptance
The news comes as the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and the US Air Force certifies and accepts the Grey Wolf, greenlighting the military usage of the helicopter test flights to begin. Boeing was awarded a $2.4 contract in September of 2018 for provision of up to 80 helicopters, training systems and support equipment related to the training.
Clyde Woltman, Chief Executive Officer, Leonardo Helicopters US stated: “We are thrilled that the first two MH-139As have been accepted by the U.S. Air Force. This aircraft is well-positioned to become an important asset in the defence and security of the United States.
“I especially want to thank the combined program teams at Leonardo and Boeing whose tireless work and ingenuity made this possible.”
This is seen as a crucial milestone worth celebrating as the Federal Aviation Administration now issues the last supplemental type certificate necessary to complete the U.S Department of Defense Form 250 and formally commence aircraft acceptance. Boeing and the Air Force will now move forward with the additional developmental initial operational testing to support the machine.
Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager of Vertical Lift stated with excitement “The Grey Wolf is a modern, versatile aircraft offering greater range, speed and endurance than the UH-1N Huey it replaces. I am proud of our team who, along with our partner Leonardo, helped us to achieve this milestone – a tremendous first step in a long line of Grey Wolf deliveries.”
Leonardo manufactures the state-of-the-art helicopter at its northeast Philadelphia power plant, which is an FAA-certified Part 21 facility. Boeing on the other hand is responsible for the integration and procurement of military equipment, and the post-delivery US Air Force support of the helicopter.
Leonardo is a conglomerate of high-tech companies, with Leonardo Helicopters being included in the portfolio. The company is highly involved with prominent roles in large organisations and sophisticated and strategic programmes and is also a highly reputable manufacturer for defence agencies, private individuals, governments and corporations.
Leonardo is an Italian company based in Rome, Italy.