Air Force delays full-rate production of Gray Wolf helicopters


Washington — Boeing MH-139A Gray Wolf U.S. Air Force program executives said Tuesday that helicopters would go into full-rate production later than expected.

The Gray Wolf Program was initially scheduled for Milestone C decisions by the end of 2021. This will start full-rate production.

but, In-progress delay Colonel William Rogers, program executive officer for Air Force intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and special operations forces, said certifying aircraft with the FAA would force the service to push milestones.

“We are in the process of reviewing the baseline of the acquisition program and [service acquisition executive, Darlene Costello] “In the near future,” he told reporters at a media roundtable.

Rogers declined to provide details on when the Milestone C decision would be made and said it was up to Costello to approve the new target and threshold dates.

The MH-139A is a militarized version of the AW139 commercial helicopter of the Italian airline Leonardo, already certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. However, Gray Wolf’s military-specific technology must be tested and certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Air Force and Boeing underestimated the time it took to obtain MH-139 Supplemental Certification (STC). This is necessary to start development testing and make full-rate production decisions.

In addition, Boeing will need to redesign one of the sensor fairings on the front half of the aircraft. This has been shown to affect the airflow to the helicopter’s Pitot tube. This can lead to inaccurate airspeed readings and can cause crashes.

“Because there are pitot tubes on both sides of the aircraft, under certain conditions the pitot tubes will not have the same airspeed measurements,” Rogers said. “Boeing is currently testing the redesign. They have several options and are currently testing the company.”

Matt Beck, Air Force MH-139A System Program Manager, said Gray Wolf has already obtained one supplementary type certificate and plans to obtain two more before Christmas.

“It makes us [developmental tests], which is good. That way, we can actually start the progress of the program and the testing of military equipment, “he said. “Other STCs will be closed in 2010.”

The Air Force will purchase 84 MH-139A units in place of the UH-1N Huey. Gray Wolf will undertake tasks such as monitoring intercontinental ballistic missile fields, conducting search and rescue, and transporting VIPs in the metropolitan area.

Boeing received a $ 2.38 billion corporate, fixed price award. Huey Exchange Program In September 2018, after submitting a proposal $ 1.7 billion lower than the program’s original estimate.Company Received the first $ 375 million Integration of the first four helicopters and military-specific items required for the AW139 to meet Air Force requirements.

The service planned to purchase eight MH-139A aircraft in FY2009 and eight more Gray Wolf helicopters in FY2010.However, during the budget development in 2010, the Air Force authorities will provide services. Suspended Gray Wolf Procurement That year, we will allow FAA certification.

In December 2019, Boeing delivered the first Gray Wolf helicopter to the Air Force, and Service set up the first MH-139A Detachment in Duke Field, Florida.