The US Air Force (USAF) has begun operational testing of the Boeing MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter, ahead of the type’s arrival into service later in December.
The service announced on 19 February that the Air Force Materiel Command’s 413th Flight Test Squadron (FTS) flew the helicopter’s first combined Boeing-USAF test flight eight days earlier on 11 February.
“With a Boeing pilot in command, this test flight allowed the [USAF] its first in-flight look at the capabilities of the aircraft. The flight also made Major Zach Roycroft, 413th Flight Test Squadron lead test pilot for the programme, the first Air Force pilot to fly Grey Wolf,” the service said.
As noted by the USAF, this first flight with Boeing was a critical step for the MH-139A programme, and allowed it to establish a foundation for government testing. The MH-139A programme should complete initial military ground testing later this month.
Though the location of the flight was not disclosed, previously the USAF had said that the 413th FTS – the USAF’s only dedicated helicopter test unit – would work with Detachment 7 at Duke Field in Florida. These units will later relocate to Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, to perform additional testing and evaluation of the aircraft.
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