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U.S. Air Force Selects the MH-139 Based on the World-Class Leonardo AW139 Helicopter for Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Protection and Government & Security Forces Transport Missions

The MH-139 program, offered by Boeing as prime contractor, is valued at $2.4 billion for up to 84 helicopters, training devices and associated support equipment with initial readiness by 2021

On 25th September 2018, The United States Air Force (USAF) selected the MH-139, based on the Leonardo AW139 and offered by Boeing as prime contractor, to replace its fleet of UH-1N “Huey” helicopters. The program awarded is valued at $2.4 billion for up to 84 helicopters, training devices and associated support equipment. With initial operational capability expected by 2021, the aircraft will take over the role of protecting the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) bases and the transportation of U.S. government and security forces.

Alessandro Profumo, Chief Executive Officer, Leonardo said “We are extremely proud of this outstanding result. Major customers continue to rely on Leonardo to meet the most stringent requirements like the critical mission of protecting missile bases and transporting government personnel and special forces. This selection is also testament to Leonardo as a strong, reliable partner and long-established contributor to the US industry.”  

The MH-139 leverages the market-leading Leonardo AW139 baseline, a modern, non-developmental, multi-mission helicopter that is in service worldwide and has already demonstrated its capabilities in protecting critical infrastructures and transporting military and government representatives in various nations.

Gian Piero Cutillo, MD Leonardo Helicopters, said “Today’s announcement is a strong recognition of the world-class quality and competitiveness of our product to meet the most demanding needs of leading customers.” 

The MH-139 is the right-sized aircraft for the mission, exceeds the Air Force’s speed, payload, range, armament and survivability requirements for protecting ICBM bases, and is perfect for VIP transport. The type features modern design and the best level of affordability with a savings of $1 billion in acquisition and lifecycle costs over the life of the fleet. The AW139 is assembled at the Leonardo northeast Philadelphia plant, with additional components to be integrated into the military MH-139 at the Boeing Philadelphia facility in Ridley Township, Pa. 

William Hunt, CEO, AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corporation, said “We are happy that the U.S. Air Force has selected our team to deliver a new fleet of Philadelphia-built MH-139s. Our Air Force deserves the best tools; this is the right helicopter for their mission. The more than $125M investment made by Leonardo in the Philadelphia facility demonstrates that we are fully prepared to execute in support of this contract. We look forward to working with Boeing on this program and we’re committed to deliver according to expectations of the prime contractor, the US Government and taxpayers.”

Over 270 Governments, Militaries and Companies Across The World Have Ordered Nearly 100 AW139s

The most successful helicopter program in the last 15 years, the AW139 has set new standards through advanced technology and high performance, reliability, safety, flexibility and cabin space. The AW139 is the ideal solution to operate in harsh environments and weather conditions. Its modern avionics reduces crews’ workload allowing the pilot to focus on the mission. Over 270 governments, militaries and companies across the world have ordered nearly 1100 AW139s, confirming itself as the bestselling aircraft in its category and with more than 900 already in service exceeding 2 million flight hours. More than 260 of the helicopters have been assembled and delivered from Philadelphia. The AW139 is able to perform a wide range of roles including government, EMS, SAR, patrol, homeland security and transport duties. Many of the AW139s today in service in the U.S. perform law enforcement and public service missions in Maryland, New Jersey and California.