The Boeing MH-139 Set to Replace Air Force Helicopters

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The Boeing MH-139 helicopter is expected to be the latest in aviation technology for the United States Air Force (USAF). The helicopter will replace the existing one and offer the latest in military advancements to stay ahead of its time. Boeing and Leonardo are partnering together in the creation of the MH-139 designed specifically for USAF. The MH-139 is derived from the civilian Leonardo AW-139.

According to Boeing’s website, “Proven to excel in the most demanding environments around the world, the MH-139 will meet all U.S. Air Force requirements and demonstrates a robust spectrum of capabilities with unmatched versatility.

David Koopersmith, the vice president and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift, spoke about the MH-139, the Air Force’s role in selecting it, and his confidence in the helicopter.

“We’re grateful for the Air Force’s confidence in our MH-139 team,” Koopersmith said. “The MH-149 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 Bell MH-139 will replace the UH-1N “Huey” helicopter. Often times this helicopter performed search and rescue missions. The Huey was first introduced in 1970. The Huey served as the American staple helicopter for almost half of a century, showing advancements in ballistic missiles and ensured safety. Currently, 59 of these helicopters are considered active.

But USAF believes the MH-139 is the way of the future. A total of 84 have already been ordered; the first helicopter is expected to arrive in 2021.

The MH-139 is said to be an improvement on the Huey by offering more speed, endurance, range, and capable of handling a higher payload. Also, it will have technological advancements for survivability.

The Huey can reach 149 miles per hour and travel over 300 miles. It can reach altitudes of 15,000 feet and hold about 10,500 pounds. Numbers for what the MH-139 may be capable of is not currently available.

A few new upgrades the MH-139 would have is machine gun windows. Instead of opting for machine gun mounts, the helicopter will have the ability to open its windows to fire machine guns. The helicopter is also expected to have more room in the cabin and will be able to fit around 15 people. The MH-139 will have a five blade rotor system in place that is expected to increase performance and cut back on the noise, creating a fail-safe system.

The MH-139 program has a value of approximately $2.4 billion for the 84 helicopters ordered. This number also includes support equipment as well as devices used for training.

Ed Dolanski, the president of the U.S government Services, Boeing Global Services, said, “We’re proud to provide the U.S. Air Force with solutions across the entire services ecosystem. With the AW-139 platform’s more than 2 million flight hours and established supply chain, we look forward to applying our expertise to drive cost savings while supporting mission readiness.”