Army Aviation

New Helicopter for the Air Force, September 2018

The Air Force announced that it has awarded a $378 million order for four MH-139 helicopters.  The MH-139 is to replace the UH-1N, the USAF version of the famed Huey.  The four helicopters ordered are the first of some 84 machines to be procured within a $2.38 billion contract.  According to Ms. Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force, “strong competition drove down the costs for the program, resulting in a savings of $1.7 billion to the taxpayer.”[1]

An MH-139 for the Air Force, to replace the UH-N1.  MH-139 is a variant of the Leonardo AW-139 / Photo: courtesy Boeing

According to Air Force Chief of Staff, General David L. Goldfein, “A safe, secure and effective nuclear enterprise is job one.  It is imperative that we field a capable and effective helicopter to replace UH-1Ns providing security for our ICBMs and nuclear deterrence options.”[2]  In addition, the MH-139 will be assigned such tasks as training and airlift support.

The MH-139 is a derivative of the Leonardo AW-139; a fifteen-passenger helicopter in service with some 250 governments and private companies around the world.  Approximately 900 machines are in service.

The Air Force expects to take delivery in fiscal year 2021.


Global, “Air Force Awards Contract for New Helicopter,” September 25, 2018,

Szondy, David, “Boeing Unveils MH-139 Helicopter to Replace Huey,” Atlas:  Military,


  1. Global, “Air Force Awards Contract for New Helicopter,” September 25, 2018.
  2. Global, ibid