Boeing to send Grey Wolf helos to Air Force this year

By Vanessa Montalbano / January 26, 2024 at 12:59 PM

Boeing will commence the first 13 deliveries of its MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopter to the Air Force this year, a company spokesperson told Inside Defense.

The news comes after the program’s first operational helicopter moved out of the final production stage and took its first flight at the Leonardo Helicopters facility in Philadelphia late last month.

The MH-139 is a multimission aircraft meant to patrol nuclear missile silos, shuttle high-ranking officials around the National Capital Region, and provide some tactical airlift capabilities. Boeing and Leonardo were awarded a contract in 2018 to recapitalize the Air Force’s Vietnam-era UH-1N Huey fleet.

In 2022, the Air Force accepted an initial four Grey Wolf prototypes for military testing.

“We are committed to advancing this program and have achieved another significant milestone with the first production aircraft," Azeem Khan, MH-139 program director, said in a statement. "This accomplishment positions us to complete outstanding testing and move closer to delivering this critical capability to the U.S. Air Force."

The program finally received milestone C approval from the Air Force in March of last year to kick off low rate initial production after facing a 17-month delay. Procurement of the Grey Wolf was ultimately deferred from the fiscal year 2022 budget to FY-23 due to pending completion of three supplemental civil airworthiness certifications to allow for military flight.

The Boeing spokesperson said the company will continue its required Federal Aviation Administration testing as it prepares for initial deliveries. The service has said it plans to purchase 84 Grey Wolf helicopters to replace 63 aging Hueys.