MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopter enters US Air Force developmental testing
The USAF has accepted ownership of four MH-139A Grey Wolf test aircraft after the helicopter received FAA Supplemental Type Certification allowing its Military Flight Release.
Prior to ownership, the aircraft went through rigorous acceptance trials conducted by Air Force Global Strike Command Detachment 7 and the 413th Flight Test Squadron.
A variant of the Leonardo AW139, the Grey Wolf will replace the USAF fleet of UH-1N aircraft.
'The built-in system redundancies and physical performance of the aircraft show great potential for improving on the myriad of missions that have been covered by the venerable Huey for so long. We're excited to get it into test and find out what it can really do,' said Lt Col Josh Hallford, chief, MH-139 standardisation and evaluations, at Test Detachment 7
The air force will acquire 84 MH-139A helicopters in total, for vertical airlift and support to four major commands and other agencies. Shephard Defence Insight estimates the unit cost for the programme to be $17 million and lists a total of 115 AW139s in military service in 17 countries worldwide.
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