Boeing-Leonardo, besting offerings from Lockheed/Sikorsky and Sierra Nevada Corporation, was tapped to provide its MH-139 helicopter and related support to the U.S. Air Force to replace the more than 40-year-old UH-1N “Huey” helicopters used to protect America’s intercontinental ballistic missile bases.
In a program expected to be worth up to $2.388 billion, the Air Force will order up to 84 helicopters, with the first entering service by 2021.
“We’re grateful for the Air Force’s confidence in our MH-139 team,” said David Koopersmith, vice president and general manager, Boeing Vertical Lift. “The MH-139 exceeds mission requirements, it’s also ideal for VIP transport, and it offers the Air Force up to $1 billion in acquisition and lifecycle cost savings.”
The MH-139 derives from the Leonardo AW139, which is used by more than 270 governments, militaries, and companies worldwide. Leonardo will assemble the helicopters at its northeast Philadelphia plant, with Boeing integrating military-specific components at its facility south of that city. The contract also includes operations, maintenance, training systems, and support equipment for the MH-139 aircraft.