Military

Boeing unveils MH-139 helicopter to replace Huey

The MH-139 is intended to replace the US Air Force's UH-1N “Huey” fleet
The MH-139 is intended to replace the US Air Force's UH-1N “Huey” fleet
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The MH-139 is intended to replace the US Air Force's UH-1N “Huey” fleet
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The MH-139 is intended to replace the US Air Force's UH-1N “Huey” fleet
Boeing says the MH-139 will save US$1 billion over 30 years
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Boeing says the MH-139 will save US$1 billion over 30 years

Boeing isn't just angling to replace the US Air Force's jet trainers, but its helicopters as well. On Thursday at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, the company unveiled its MH-139 helicopter. It will be entered into the UH-1N Replacement Program competition to find a replacement for the US Air Force's venerable UH-1N "Huey" multi-role helicopter fleet, in service since 1970.

The MH-139 is based on the Leonardo Helicopters AW139, of which there are 900 in service with more than 250 governments and private companies. Designed for day and night operations in a variety of climates, the AW139 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engines with full digital electronic engine control (FADEC) that give the aircraft an airspeed of 165 kt (190 mph, 306 km/h). Inside, there's a glass cockpit with advanced avionics and a four-axis digital autopilot with auto-hover.

According to Boeing, the MH-139 is more economical than other competitors and can save up to US$1 billion over 30 years.

Boeing says the MH-139 will save US$1 billion over 30 years
Boeing says the MH-139 will save US$1 billion over 30 years

"The Huey replacement is of vital importance to the Air Force, and the MH-139 is the right solution for those missions," says Judy Fedder, director of Global Sales & Marketing, Boeing Integrated Logistics. "The fact that the AW139 is being built today on an active production line will speed it to meet the time-critical demand following the competition."

Source: Boeing

7 comments
EH
Wondering why I never heard of this, it turns out it's designed by Bell Helicopter, which everybody should have heard of, working with AgustaWestland, which was formed by a merger in 2000 of Finmeccanica, (of Italy, now Leonardo, which had Augusta as a subsidiary), and GKN (of Britain, big, old, which owned Westland). AgustaWestland is pretty big for a company I never heard of, with 4.2B Euros revenue in 2012 according to Wikipedia. AW has a joint venture with giant "Russian Helicopters" (not the most imaginative name, 46,000 employees) and in 2010 AW bought Polish PZL-Świdnik, maker of a medium military helicopter helicopter (etc, and formerly, WSK motorcycles). AW was going to bid jointly with Northrop Grumman for the Marine One contract but pulled out. AW was also together with Lockheed Martin in the last Marine One fiasco which by 2005 cost $3.6B for 9 choppers which were then sold to Canada for spare parts. AW licensed the Apache design from Boeing, and makes them for the UK, now Boeing is producing AW's AW139 as the Huey replacement. It's as if there's only one helicopter company on the planet.
Derek Howe
Looks like a winner to me. I really like projects like this, a simple & affordable helo, to replace a aging air-frame. I wish the AF would do this with the B-52, but instead they keep coming up with super expensive replacements that can do it all, then get cancelled because of cost overruns.
MSGTUSMC
Excellent air frame. Far cheaper than clean sheet design problems nd cost!
thuds36th
Huey Gunship Line Maintenance OIC back at Hurlburt Field in "68', Pax on Huey"s as a LCC w/MM1 at Ellsworth from "69-73" to and from MM1 mostly at Hotel LCF. Keep it simple , ie "KISS". All you need is an air frame that be easy to maintain, low man hours to maintain and quick turn around times. We will purchase a Budget delivery truck with Rolls Royce equipment and the dependability of a Yugo. The Flag Officers, elected pol's[Feds] and State elected officials will see to that. $$$$$$$$$$$$$'s in re-election pockets and wallets
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Some programs are used just to store money. Turning these off and on is where a lot of the money is wasted.
fgray
as a Vietnam Vet (not Era) nothing will ever replace the Huey, there may be newer, faster, better armed, but never another Huey...made no matter the configuration, the sound of an incoming Huey was the best music you ever heard or you ever will
Eggster
I was under the impression that the Sikorski Blackhawk was a replacement for the Huey. Apparently I could use a bit of an education here.
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