The competition to replace the U.S. Air Force’s UH-1N Huey helicopter fleet just got a little more interesting, with Boeing officially submitting its MH-139 helicopter for consideration.
Unveiled at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium last Thursday, the MH-139 is based on Leonardo’s AgustaWestland AW139, which Boeing describes as a “modern, non-developmental, multi-mission helicopter” that is both popular and cost-effective in the long run.
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“This Northeast Philadelphia-built aircraft is sized to meet U.S. Air Force requirements and offers more than $1 billion in acquisition and lifecycle expense savings over 30 years when compared to competitor aircraft,” said David Koopersmith, vice president and general manager, Boeing Vertical Lift.
Nearly 900 AW139s are already being used by more than 250 governments, militaries and companies worldwide.
While all of this bodes well for Boeing, they’re not the only major player looking to win this contract. Early last week, Lockheed subsidiary Sikorsky announced that it would submit a modified HH-60U to replace the Huey. The Air Force already has three HH-60U Black Hawks at its disposal.
The U.S. Air Force’s UH-1N Replacement Program calls for the replacement of the Huey helicopter fleet — which entered service in the 70s — with up to 84 new helicopters. The service will likely award the contract in early fiscal 2018, and delivery would start no later than one year after that, Air Force Times said.
Hueys protect ICBMs and transports U.S. government and security forces.