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MH-139A Grey Wolf to enter developmental testing

Grey Wolf flies with all-Air Force crew for first time

In mid-August 2022, the U.S. Air Force accepted ownership of four MH-139A Grey Wolf test aircraft, mere weeks after Boeing completed the final Federal Aviation Administration Supplemental Type Certification required for the MH-139A to achieve its Military Flight Release.

These accomplishments allow the Air Force to conduct testing of critical military capabilities of the MH-139A as the program progresses toward Milestone C. Prior to ownership, the aircraft went through rigorous acceptance tests conducted by Air Force Global Strike Command Detachment 7 and 413th Flight Test Squadron pilots.

The aircraft’s first flight under its new call sign, Lycan, meaning werewolf, took place above and around Duke Field, an auxiliary field north of Eglin AFB. The goal of that flight was to validate processes, checklists, maintenance, emergency procedures and aircrew communication and coordination.

“Leonardo’s 139 helicopter has an impressive pedigree of performance in multiple missions in the civil, public, and military domains. 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.”

Lt. Col. Josh Hallford, MH-139 Standardization and Evaluations MH-139 Test Detachment 7 chief

The MH-139A Grey Wolf will replace the Air Force fleet of UH-1N aircraft, offering a significant capability increase in speed, range, endurance, payload, and survivability.

An MH-139 Grey Wolf lifts off for a mission Aug. 17 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Grey Wolf sortie was the first flight since the Air Force took over ownership of the aircraft Aug. 10. It also marked the first all-Air Force personnel flight as well in the Air Force’s newest helicopter. Photo: Samuel King Jr. – U.S. Air Force

The Air Force will acquire 80 MH-139A helicopters, training devices, and associated support equipment. The MH-139A will provide vertical airlift and support to four Air Force major commands and other operating agencies including AFGSC, Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Materiel Command, Air Force Reserve Command, and the Air Force District of Washington.

AFGSC is the lead command and operational capability requirements sponsor.

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