Air Force and Boeing negotiating MH-139A technical data rights

By Apurva Minchekar  / October 12, 2023

The Air Force has received technical data rights from Boeing to support Boeing's MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopter program depot maintenance, an Air Force spokesperson told Inside Defense.

MH-139A is a multimission helicopter developed by Boeing and Leonardo that will replace the Bell UH-1N Iroquois to protect U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile installations as well as transport U.S. government officials and security forces, according to Boeing.

“Boeing and the MH-139A program agreed to incremental reviews and delivery of Leonardo’s Component Repair and Overhaul data to support USAF’s organic sustainment strategy,” Maj. Alli Stormer said.

According to a Defense Department Selected Acquisition Report dated December 2022 and publicly released Sept. 22, Boeing was in disagreement with the service for technical data package delivery due to Leonardo’s “commerciality and intellectual property rights.”

In March, Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter said Boeing gave assurances that the service would receive the TDP rights. However, he noted that Leonardo was the owner of the technical data and not currently under contract to hand it over to the Air Force.

Stormer added the delivery of the technical data as per the agreement will enable the government agencies and depot maintenance organizations to complete repairs and overhaul of the MH-139 and its subsystems.

The Defense Department’s depot sustainment experts “will initially focus on the highest-priority dynamic systems that account for the largest share of depot workload, such as drives, rotors and gearboxes,” according to the SAR.

Further, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation report released in January identified technical data as a significant challenge for the program.

Under the Air Force’s organic sustainment strategy, DOD will evaluate Component Repair and Overhaul Procedure data to identify gaps in existing data required for long-term sustainment and “provide Boeing a list of data needed via contractor letter,” the SAR noted.

Recently, the MH-139A program reached milestone C and is expected to begin deliveries in 2024.