Leonardo-Boeing MH-139 helos replace ‘Vietnamese’ UH-1N Huey

WASHINGTON — The US Air Force’s Vietnam War-era UH-1N Huey helicopters have begun to be replaced. The 62 Huey helicopters that perform nuclear and ICBM surveillance missions in the states of Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota are being retired.

In US: Leonardo-Boeing MH-139 helos replace 'Vietnamese' UH-1N Huey
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The MH-139 is the helicopter that will now perform these functions. It was produced by the Italian Leonardo and the American Boeing. The order is for 80 units of the MH-139A worth nearly $2.4 billion and was placed nearly four years ago. The MH-139A is based on the AW139, which is a product of Leonardo.

The first four MH-139A Gray Wolf helicopters have already been delivered to the US Air Force. They will be the first “trial units” that will guarantee the characteristics and combat functionality of the helicopters in tests. The delivery of the four MH-139A Gray Wolf helicopters was officially announced by the Italian company.


The MH-139 is a multi-role helicopter. In addition to monitoring US nuclear and ballistic missiles, this helicopter will transport senior US government officials and security forces.

In US: Leonardo-Boeing MH-139 helos replace 'Vietnamese' UH-1N Huey
Photo credit: Leonardo

Leonardo says the MH-139A has already become an important US security asset. Clyde Waltman, CEO of Leonardo Helicopters US, the North American subsidiary of the transalpine company, said that “the teams at Leonardo and Boeing have put tireless work and ingenuity” into the creation of the MH-139A.

In the words of Boeing Vertical Lift section vice president and general manager Mark Hecrry, “The Gray Wolf is a modern and versatile aircraft that offers greater range, speed, and endurance than the UH-1N Huey it replaces.”

Operational tests

The Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] is currently expected to allow the US Department of Defense to use helicopters. When that happens and delivery is complete, Boeing and the US Air Force will outline follow-up procedures and actions for the helicopter’s development and operational tests to support the device.

These helicopters are manufactured at Leonardo’s facility in Northeast Philadelphia, while Boeing is responsible for acquiring and installing the appropriate military equipment for each one and providing maintenance after the aircraft is delivered.


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