The US Air Force has selected the Boeing MH-139 helicopter to replace its venerable fleet of UH-1N "Huey" multirole choppers that are used to protect America's land-based nuclear ICBMs in the US Midwest. The contract, worth US$2.4 billion, is for 84 aircraft along with support services and training systems.
Serving with the Air Force since 1970, the Huey is one of the more ubiquitous combat helicopters. Aside from guarding the US nuclear deterrent, the Huey has seen war service in Vietnam, Iraq, Colombia, and the Falklands. Though its primary user is the US Air Force, it has also served with the other branches of the American services as well as with overseas military wings.
The MH-139 helicopter replacing the Huey is a derivative of the Leonardo Helicopters AW139, which serves with over than 270 governments, armed services, 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), giving 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.
The video below shows the MH-139 taking to the skies.
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