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First production Boeing MH-139 takes flight

The MH-139A, a developmental version of which is seen here on 19 December 2019 at Duke Field in Florida. (US Air Force)

Boeing conducted the first flight of a production MH-139 Grey Wolf on 23 December at Leonardo Helicopters' facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the company told Janes on 26 January.

The helicopter is the first of 13 ordered by the US Air Force (USAF) under a March 2023 low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract. The LRIP helicopter is scheduled for delivery to the USAF between June and August, Boeing said. A second is set to fly in the second quarter of 2024.

In November the service received the last of six MH-139s for testing under the research and development contract. Boeing and the USAF are working to certify the helicopter with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the company said. The USAF intends to conclude developmental testing with the first aircraft, and proceed to initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) during 2024.

The USAF selected the MH-139 in 2018 to replace its UH-1 fleet, providing security and transportation for the service's nuclear missile silos in addition to VIP transport. The service ultimately intends to operate 74 of the helicopters.

In its fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget request, the service asked for USD228.8 million to procure seven MH-139s and USD25.7 million for testing.

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