Boeing has won a $2.38bn contract to replace the US Air Force’s fleet of UH-1N Huey helicopters.

The company said Monday it will deliver and maintain up to 84 MH-139helicopters and provide training devices and related support equipment for the aircraft.

MH-139 is based on the Leonardo-built AW139 helicopter that currently serves more than 250 government, commercial and military clients worldwide.

Leonardo will perform assembly work on the helicopters and Boeing will integrate military components into the aircraft.

“With the AW139 platform’s more than two million flight hours and established supply chain, we look forward to applying our expertise to drive cost savings while supporting mission readiness,” said Ed Dolanski, president of U.S. government services at Boeing’s global services business.

On their website, Boeing describe the aircraft:

“The Boeing MH-139, based on a fully type-certified FAA FAR Part 29 helicopter, provides a capable, affordable, and ready to serve platform for the U.S. Air Force’s UH-1N Replacement Program. Proven to excel in the most demanding environments around the world, the MH-139 will meet all U.S. Air Force requirements and demonstrates a robust spectrum of capabilities with unmatched versatility.

The Boeing MH-139 leverages more than a decade of service, derived from the AW139 built in Philadelphia, with a fleet of more than 900 aircraft, serving more than 250 customers worldwide, spanning more than 2.1 million flight hours.”

The US Defense Department said Monday work will occur in Philadelphia and Ridley Park through September 2031 should the service exercise all options.

31 COMMENTS

  1. After years of cost cutting we have arrived at a situation where we make virtually nothing and people who used to be our customers are buying from those we help set up in business. Meanwhile the do-gooders demand we stop selling even more to those few customers we have left. But hey the future terrorist loving leader of the Uk has just promised 40K green jobs.

    • (Chris H) farouk – We make nothing? Can I gently correct you? We are the 9th largest manufacturing country in the world. We punch way above our weight vs population. And Aerospace UK is worth over £18 Bn a year to UK GDP.

      Sorry I can’t let this sort of negativity go unchallenged and please don’t believe the Remoaner propaganda

      • Afternoon Chris:
        Apologies I was actually referring to the arms industry, and in this case building helicopters . I should have been less cryptic I suppose I should get on my bike (pun intended)

    • The 400k green jobs sounds fantastic, but its not going to be exporting anything. In fact if it means utilities are more expensive for business then it could hit exports including defence exports. We are at almost full employment at present so 400k jobs would mean up skilling, then bringing in cheap migrant labour to fill the gap or directly employing migrant labour for the green jobs. So what’s missing is investment in automation at the low end to remove low end jobs and the need for 400k more people which will just adds pressure on already stretched services. Actually half as many new high paid defence sector jobs with export focus would contribute more imo.

      • Cheap migrant labour.

        Which is EXACTLY what Corbyn and co want as they think it increases their fan base.

        And was one of the primary reasons people voted for Brexit. To reduce immigration.

        Oh the fun never ends with the political classes does it.

      • (Chris H) – Its just another Labour fluffy soundbite reflecting a solution looking for a problem. Throw in some trigger phrases and jobs a good ‘un… Innit? We have full employment, the best in the EU by a country Mile (or Kilometre), so why the solution? Its the same kidology used to bamboozle soft students in 2017 and now the even softer Green Brigade will sup this up.

        ‘Jewemy’ will need those votes as 120 of his MPs are now looking at a shortened career after Starmer poked two fingers up to millions of Labour Leave voters in those 120 seats where Leave polled over 60%. They may not vote Tory but they won’t vote Labour. Plus 1,750 votes in some 20 seats decided the loss of May’s 13 seat majority …

        Its interesting how UK productivity started to climb in 2017 a year after the Brexit vote as businesses realised their never ending supply of cheap labour was ending. It rose 0.7% the best since 2008 and by 0.9% in the first quarter of 2018. Its still not where it should be but the change is there. So they have started to invest in ways of producing more with fewer people where they were just trousering profits aided by the UK taxpayer with Tax Credits and other ‘In Work’ benefits before. You really get to see the impact on local jobs and communities who are pushed aside when you drive a truck as I did in my last 6 working years and go to cold stores and warehouses where English is a foreign language. Woolworths (before they went bust) like their neighbours at a huge distribution park in Bedford never advertised for jobs locally. They just got their Polish gangleaders to phone home and 2 days later they had all the labour needed. No cost, easy peasy and zero benefit to Bedford working people.

        This has been the insidious result of years of open door migration that STILL brings in a city the size of Newcastle every year and added over 3.5 Mn to our population in 11 years. And the Remainers never explain where we find the money to build all the new homes, provide new jobs, increase health care and provide millions of new school places. Plus thousands of interpreters.

        March 29th is the day after my 72nd birthday. I will be delaying my celebrations by one day!

        • Chris – Its anticipated that 30% of jobs will disappear over the next few decades. I don’t doubt this, look at self drive tech, its almost there this put almost every taxi driver out of work. This will spread to delivery drivers, lorry drivers. That’s just one example. Immigration policy needs to be aligned to the new disruptive tech that coming that will replace millions of jobs. We certainly won’t need more workers in the future well need less.

          • (Chris H) expat – you are of course dead right. But the UK economy has been on constant change since the ’70s. And if there is one thing we do well its manage change. I am not sure about the auto drive cars or taxis – maybe. But we will never get 44 tonne trucks without drivers. Just far to risky.

            I think what the Government put out on Monday about how immigration will match what we need post Brexit was a very good start. Not 100% there but it makes the same points you have.

          • Chris, I believe there’s so much investment going on in some new tech its hard to believe it will not happen. Volvo already have self drive trucks, of course like military drones their will probably a person in the loop for now. US military are looking at driverless trucks as it reduces the risk.

            https://www.army-technology.com/features/driverless-vehicles-military/

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41038220

            I truly believe we need to embrace new tech, if we don’t we’ll be left behind. As for risk, the first mono wing plane was risky, the first jet airliner was risky. If we let that get in the way we’d still be flying biplanes. Safety is too often used as an excuse to keep labour levels high and productivity low, ultimately that benefits no one.

            Hopefully you would end up with one person controlling say 5 trucks and being paid twice as much. He pays more tax but consumes far less the 5 original drivers in terms of government services like NHS etc.

  2. (Chris H) – I always shake my head when I see how the Yanks take over anything they are involved with. Its not a ‘Boeing MH_139’ its an AW 139 to which Boeing are adding US military systems. They never designed it (Agusta Westland Bell did) or built it as Agusta Westland do that in Vergiate Italy and in Philadelphia.

    AW were burned by US Pork Barrel politics and especially Boeing over the aborted ‘Marine One’ contract for 23 Merlins after 9 airframes had been delivered on time and to budget. It was the US political side that killed it and gifted the contract to Sikorsky (Boeing) after they had lost the original contract to AW. And 10 years later still no new Marine One helos have been delivered. Just like no new KC-46 tankers have been delivered 10 years after Boeing were gifted the contract after losing to Airbus and the A330 MRTT

    Even Lockheed Martin aren’t that friendly over what a Tier One Partner is. They gifted Turkey the F135 engine maintenance contract and Italy the major airframe maintenance contract! We store black boxes ….

    So let us take notice of these lessons and keep US Incorporated (and especially Boeing) at a friendly distance on Tempest.

    • Americans have to much national pride. Its one thing to secure licensing to build kit in your own country, but to completely claim a design is disgusting.

    • Chris wrote:
      I always shake my head when I see how the Yanks take over anything they are involved with.

      The Bell X1 comes to mind seeing as it is virtually a clone of the Miles M52, yet according to history it was the yanks who had the right stuff.

      • Wasn’t there a program in the dim and distant past that showed the Miles would have broken the sound barrier, if the ministry hadn’t cancelled the development. I believe they put a model in a supersonic wind tunnel to prove the concept. As a moot point, the Bell X1 would never have past the sound barrier without British knowledge, The original design had a normal tail-plane i.e. one fixed part and a moving elevator. Miles had designed an all moving tail-plane, this was crucial for control as the aircraft transitioned through the transonic to supersonic speed zones.

      • Spot on DaveyB. There had been a “gentlemen’s” agreement between Miles and Bell to share all technical information which worked well enough until Bell got the idea for the all moving tail-plane from Miles. From that point on, any feedback from Bell stopped and a few weeks later the X-1 broke the sound barrier.

    • It is hard to find out much about what Leonardo actually make in the UK at the old Westland plant now. The odd export Wildcat and Merlin. A few SAR helicopters. Anything else?

      • The Merlin is fine as a naval sub hunter etc, but is really too big and expensive for the medium utility battlefield role, which doesn’t need 3 expensive engines!

        The Chinook handles the heavy lift element on the battlefield, max take-off weight 22.6 tons.

        The medium utility helis are under half that weight (and cost) – Black Hawk 10.66, NH90 TT 10.6, AW149 8.6, Puma 7.0. They can all carry between a section (8 combat-laden troops) and half a platoon (17-18). Merlin, at nearly 15 tons, is the odd man out, a very expensive commodity which doesn’t match the Chinook’s lift capability and, at twice the weight of the Puma, is too big for the battlefield role. As we have got them, they are fine for the air assault role with 3 Cdo Bde, which could be an amphibious landing from miles away across water and similarly could work for 16 Air Assault Bde in the initial assault role.

        The ideal would be a MUH that can lift an infantry platoon in two flights, rather than the US Army’s 3 io 4 with the Black Hawk, you don’t need as many helis but aren’t putting too many eggs in one vulnerable basket.

        The NH90 claims to seat 20, but I suspect that is passengers rather than combat-laden troops, given the limited size of the cabin. It anyway has its fair share of teething problems.

        The AW149 would be good, though it is a bit on the small side – 12 combat-laden troops + 2 door gunners, so potentially 14 troops. I’d love to see a stretched version, with a 1.2m cabin plug to bring capacity up to 16+2, hey presto, half a platoon. And with the GE CTA engine (3,960 hp) replaced by the Rolls Royce RTM 322 (4,600 hp), to increase underslung loads, speed and rate of climb.

        Problem is, the UK and European helis are very expensive by US standards, due in part to the smaller production runs on this side of the pond. AW’s Wildcat has really priced itself out of further orders for the MOD, at £28m a pop.

        The smaller AW139 would be a fine choice to take over the out-of-area role, replacing the Bell 212s in Brunei and Kenya, the RAF’s Bell 412s mn Cyprus and maybe the Special Forces’ Dauphin 2s one day. It could also provide good troop lift in Northern Ireland and the UK mainland. It is big enough to carry an infantry section and up to 4 stretchers, as well as doing CSAR, command, EW and moving supplies around, if a bit on the small side to support 3 Div or the Para and Cdo brigades.

  3. Chris, I agree. It never seizes to amaze me that Trump and “the base” believe US industry is hard done by by global markets. The US systematically attempts to dismantle any kind of competing foreign manufacturers and always has done. At least with European and Asian competitors you can compete based on size and there is room to play nicely.

    • (Chris H) Julian – and the truly sad thing is the US military never ever get what they really want and need when thy need it despite a huge Defence Budget the likes of which no other country runs. They get what US Incorporated paid Senators tell them they need. And then they fail to deliver. SO the USAF is still using 40+ year old KC-135s rather than the A330 MRTT they really wanted and now still no KC-46s. The most powerful man in the world uses 40 year old Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King or 20 year old smaller VH-60N “White Hawk”.

      Well done US Incorporated – you are gifted fat contracts and you still fail.

      • Your US Incorporated conspiracy theories again? The Military gets what they need in the end it always has.
        As for Senators telling the Military what they need? That is called a Republic. As for Senators and Congressmen being paid by industry? You mean their voters who reside in their constituencies.
        There is no vast American conspiracy against European or British industries. What there is, is a very well developed and correct sense by both voters and due to that their representatives that American tax dollars should NOT go overseas.
        Airbus can go take a long walk off a short pier before any taxpayer would recommend picking them over a product manufactured in the US. Any procurement officer or Congressman who recommended Airbus a company that receives multiple subsidies by Euro countries can burn in hell before thinking about keeping their job. As it was precisely those subsidies from the EU that led to the price wars between Boeing and Airbus that killed McDonnell Douglas. If preserving American jobs and the industrial base causes Euro trash to lose their jobs so be it. That is not my business, it isn’t Congress’s buisness, and it damn well isn’t the DOD’s buisness.
        Still complaining about the Presidential helicopters? No one was going to be getting VIP helicopters in 2009. Not after a financial crisis or while asking for bank bailouts and stimulus money. That would have been political suicide. Which is why President Obama ordered the program restarted. So any new purchases would not be visible.
        Also Sikorsky has always been much more connected to Lockheed (more now than it was back then) than it ever has been to Boeing. Lockheed was due to it’s holdings in Sikorsky largely competing against itself. Boeing’s helicopter division usually partners with Bell or one of Bell’s partners. Boeing even in the restart bid three designs the AW-101, Chinook, and Osprey.
        Hence the bidding of a Leonardo design for this USAF contract. They would have bid with Bell had Bell not been set on bidding the Venom so to Leonardo they went. Who were no doubt more than happy to have Boeing pay for the integration of American equipment. Which is used by the Military in addition to Federal, State, and Local law enforcement thus allowing a broader market for Leonardo’s American branch.
        As for the Presidential transport fleet in general still more and better planes and helicopters than anyone else has for their elected leaders. As for the tankers well at least we own and operate ours unlike the UK with AirTanker.

        • (Chris H) Elliott – Thanks once again for proving my basic point and showing how the American mind works. Well the Republican American mind. It is no ‘conspiracy theory’ it is historical fact. And your patriotic bullcrap about how no Congressman or Senator would allow Airbus to win defies the factual events that the USAF ran a competitive bidding process, Airbus won over 800 points against Boeing’s 375 and so Airbus was given the contract to build the A330 MRTT or ‘KC-45’. And Airbus were going to do that in Alabama so your ‘tax dollars’ were never ‘going abroad’ were they? You know the same place all your Airbus A320s are built for you now? They would even have had GE engines rather than the (better) RR Trent ones everyone else uses. It was only after Boeing corralled their bent Senators that the contract was voided, a new set of rules created (that happened to suit Boeing’s 375 winning points) and why Airbus said ‘screw you’. Your loss Elliott not ours and your Air Force never got the aircraft they needed and wanted as I said did they? They got the one the politicians and their pork barrel game gave them. Or actually hasn’t as none have been delivered so the USAF still haven’t got the aircraft Congress foisted on them because Boeing have failed to deliver ONE in 10 years. Happily the RAF have had all their 14 in service for some time now. Yes its supplied by Air Tanker and we only pay for when we use them rather than have £ Bns tied up in aircraft. But the point being regardless of funding the RAF had what was needed, ordered and then delivered. Unlike the USAF. Your sarcasm defeats no one but yourself.

          Airbus does not get “multiple subsidies by Euro countries “. Boeing tried to make that complaint to the WTO and it basically backfired because evidently Boeing gets more State and Federal aid than Airbus. Little back door games like NASA perfecting aerodynamic advances and Boeing getting the research for free. Or through fat military contracts that filter technology to commercial airliner designs. And Washington State tax benefits that the WTO defined as ‘Illegal State Aid’. OOPS!

          What Airbus does get are commercial loans on commercial terms but at reduced interest rates and following the WTO investigation it has agreed to pay slightly higher rates. THAT Elliott is not ‘State Aid’. Oh and by the way McDonnell Douglas went belly up in 1997 when Airbus was just a minnow delivering some 175 aircraft a year compared to the US companies (Boeing alone was delivering some 425 a year) so don’t play the blame game for your own company’s failure. That is just pathetic.

          You Yanks hate Airbus because its made your commercial aircraft industry look lame. It has beaten Boeing in overall sales in 14 years out of 17 since 2000 and has a bigger order bank. Its why it has FALs in France, Germany, China and the USA. Which begs the question where those ‘Euro State Aids’ come from in China and the USA. And where are the best wings in the world made? Right here in the UK.

          And thank you for showing your true colours Elliott when you say:
          “If preserving American jobs and the industrial base causes Euro trash to lose their jobs so be it”

          Who the HELL do you think YOU are calling us Euro Trash Pal? Typical Septic who cannot stand criticism of MURICAAA and resorts to abusive labelling because he has lost the plot let alone the argument. I am sure we are all now far better informed of the sort of guy you are.

          • Aww I hurt seem to have hurt your feelings. Do not throw insults if you can’t take insults.
            Americans hate Airbus because it constantly receives subsidies in the form of loans from European countries. In addition to EU countries outright owning stock in it. Then it has Germany, France, and the UK accept massive delays such as for the A400 delays that are deliberately engineered to benefit Airbus financially. All of these are subsidies under American law. An example that is different Boeing has repeatedly taken massive penalties on it’s tanker contract. Where in a similar situation Airbus would have gotten on the phone with the Elysee and the Bundestag, and all the penalties would have slipped away.
            As for the WTO they have ruled against both companies repeatedly. Criticizing Airbus for loans while criticizing Boeing for US Military spending and tax breaks. Challenging Boeing the tax breaks Airbus shot itself in the foot. No tax break in the US is labeled for Boeing, they are done by States and localities to encourage economic investment and were open to everyone. While you defend Airbus saying well it would have been “assembled” in Alabama. So for billions of dollars the American taxpayer would have gotten to bolt together kits and not even for the first four aircraft which would have been 100% assembled in Germany. All while taking major work from no less than 3 other States. In addition the Senate did not kill it by itself the GAO did. Beyond that are you really trying to argue that Airbus a creature of Europe’s politics was a virgin to placating angered politicians.
            The collapse of Mcdonnell Douglas has repeatedly been put down to the beginning of the price wars. As it had been left extraordinarily vulnerable by the end of the Cold War. Specifically the cancellation of the A-12 and the delay of the Super Hornet. Was Airbus solely at fault? No, but a subsidized price war put the final nail in its coffin.
            What sort of guy I am? Don’t insult my country or motives repeatedly and not expect to get your head bitten off. Further “thank you for showing how the basic American mind works”, “At least the Republican mind.” And you accuse me of labeling.

        • So Eliot, I think what you are saying is that some of the foundations of the “American Dream” such as free trade, capitalism that grows the wealth, the removal of interest groups and elitism and above all equality of opportunity to excel and make your life better only apply if you happen to be American.

          The following statements really do offer support to Chris Hs less than sparkling view of areas of US culture.

          ” developed and correct sense ………….. That American tax dollars should not go overseas”

          “If preserving American jobs and the industrial base causes Euro trash to lose their jobs so be it”

          Your level of shared brotherhood, empathy and compassion for your fellow man is enlightening in that it highlights the route causes of many of the worlds ills and I’m sure if the rest of humanity actually operated at your level we would as a species become justifiably extinct within a few (very miserable) generations.

          I happen to think there is a fare bit of good in the US, but I’ve noted a steep decline into tribalism and unwillingness to listen amongst many groups within the US who were once far more open to the ideas of fairness and opportunity for all.

          It’s a long way off yet but what happens if the rest of the western world start to suspect that as an international partner the US is less reliable and friendly to the idea of shared trade and wealth generation than say China ?

          • (Chris H) Maybe us ‘Euro Trash’ should adopt the philosophy “That European tax Euros and British tax Pounds should not go overseas” for which read the USA

            Protectionism and isolationism is what did for the USA in the ’20s and ’30s and it took a Wold War to drag the USA out of its stupidity.

            Sadly Trump is dragging the USA back inside itself. Fine. It just means the rest of the world will trade amongst themselves.

            Elliott made me rethink my views on US Incorporated and the US political mindset to screw over anyone that isn’t ‘American’ but this piece of ‘Eur Trash’ right here is now even more anti any involvement with the Yanks in future. They will never buy anything military from us so no loss there. Which made me ponder:

            * Keep Tempest out of harms way by keeping to the current partners only. No US Incorprated involvement other than supply of parts as sub contractors. Now SAAB are locked into Boeing they are no longer secure. Same with any Japanese or Korean involvement. And certainly not Airbus.
            * Limit F-35B to two lots of 48 block buys and invest the money saved (42 x £100 Mn) into Tempest development.
            * Fund more Typhoons until Tempest is in prototype flight.
            * Make Tempest CATOBAR capable.
            * Set aside £2 Bn from the £13 Bn a year EU money we will save and use it to invest in developments of UK military requirements like Carrier conversion to CATOBAR to fly a Naval Tempest
            * Invest in Advanced Hawk with cash from BEIS. This will kickstart UK advanced design and manufacturing and many countries operating Hawk will seek to place follow on orders.
            * Make the Red Arrows the first users of Advanced Hawk

          • Jonathan
            The rights and privileges of the citizen and thus the “American Dream” within the US are and should be the province of people who are in fact citizens. If somebody wants them immigration and acquisition of citizenship is easier than in any other country.
            Further why should it not enrage any citizen if he was to find out that say his neighbor, cousin, brother, sister, or in laws are going to the unemployment line. Not because of a cut in Government spending (understandable) or because of a competition in another part of the Nation understandable as they are at least your fellow citizen. Instead due to a deliberate decision to send your tax dollars abroad and give them to foreigners. Who have repeatedly shown from Iran and Vietnam to Panama and Grenada to Iraq to only have passing loyalty.
            As for my levels of empathy and shared brotherhood? Well let me know when you go to the jungle and deserts then have supposed allies call you and your brothers “murderer”, “baby killer”, along with “fascist”, and “nazi”. Then see if that improves your disposition. Levels of empathy and brotherhood for people who are not your countrymen have little to do with foreign policy or economics.
            As for humanity going “justifiably” extinct due to this type of opinion. The level of hypocrisy from a person who no doubt does not support the death penalty while supporting mass taxpayer funded abortion is deafening. Especially considering I can virtually guarantee I both have and still do give more in charity than you ever will as part of your income or labor.
            As for you thinking there is a “fare bit of goodness in the US, but I’ve noted a steep decline in tribalism and unwillingness to listen amongst groups, who were once open to the idea of fairness and opportunity for all.”? As if partisanship is new or unique to the US. As for it being a decline? You mean fewer people are willing to be “one of them good ones” or your “patsy” as the saying goes.
            On siding with China well? Well that would be proving every point made by Americans who regard Europe suspicion and antipathy. As it would be yet another incidence of Europe backing the other side. One that history makes clear Europe would come to regret and expect to be bailed out from.

          • Chris
            Thanks for yet again showing your normal routine. Complain about American, French, German, or Japanese protectionism. Calling it wrong and immoral. Followed by immediately calling for British protectionism. As clearly by your logic Britain moral US evil. Wouldn’t have an issue if you admitted it but you grandstand.
            Complain about the term “Euro Trash” being derogatory then use the term Yank or Yankee. Apparently unable to grasp the terms are equally derogatory. While in the South (which like most English and Europeans you make high handed presumptions of racism about) calling someone a Yankee, Yank, or a Yankee brat is enough to start a fight.
            As for protectionism and isolationism being decisions that turned out badly? They gave the US the Gilded Age and the largest expansion of the American economy in history. Making it a larger economy and industrial output than Britain by the time of the Spanish-American War. Later during the 20s and 30s it allowed the US to maintain it’s hegemony over Latin America and the Pacific relatively peacefully until it entered the War in 41. While also allowing the American economy to recover from the depression by GDP in the year 1936. Allowing it to have already begun the Vinson Naval Build Program. Meaning that America already had the Fleet to win the war under construction at the outbreak hostilities. Considering the effect was to have America siting on the smoking ruins of West Germany and Japan in 1945 and the economic boom of the 40s and 50s. I would say it worked out pretty damn well and could not be described as stupid.
            As for other partner countries for Tempest you have over the course of your posts eliminated, or set up rules for eliminating every possible partner. Japan and Korea you dismiss as to much American involvement. Airbus you dismiss as French industrial espionage. Now Sweden due to SAAB being involved with Boeing.
            Under those terms all that would appear to be left is India, the Gulf Countries, Italy, and Brazil. Now let’s take closer look. India is highly protectionist and typically favors Russian gear however some other countries have success (Israel). While the Gulf Countries rely on America to guarantee their territory and regimes. Italy? Leonardo is desperate to break into the US market. This is in addition to it’s partnerships with the Israelis who will share whatever data the US tells them to. Brazil? That would mean bringing in Embraer. Embraer’s largest shareholder is Boeing. Embraer began partnering with Boeing after Embraer began accusing Bombardier of dumping back in the early 00s. So exactly who is left to partner with?

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