Boeing To Compete for Huey Replacement
—WILSON BRISSETT, af ass’n
Boeing announced Thursday at AWS17 it will compete to replace the UH-1N Huey with its MH-139, a version of the AW139 already being produced by AgustaWestland. Program director Rick Lemaster said the MH-139 will have a top speed of 165 knots compared to the Huey’s top speed of 130 knots. The cabin will also be 30 percent bigger without additional length, and Boeing said the helicopter will be able to carry up to 15 people with equipment. Boeing also claims it can produce $1 billion in acquisitions and life cycle management savings if the MH-139 is selected, largely because the company would be “selecting aircraft off the line” and tailoring them to fit the Air Force’s needs. AgustaWestland is already producing one AW139 per month at its Philadelphia facility, which would also produce the MH-139, and Boeing said production levels have been as high as four per month or 45 in a year. “We understand the mission and the requirements,” said Dave Koopersmith, vice president for vertical lift. “We get that the Air Force needs the Huey replacement to be low-cost and ready to go from Day One.” The Air Force released a draft RFP for the Huey replacement in December. Acting Secretary of the Air Force Lisa Disbrow told Air Force Magazine Thursday another RFP, previously expected in April, would not be released until the summer.