US Air Force’s new Grey Wolf helicopter needs to watch its weight

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force’s new MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopter, which will replace the UH-1N Huey that guards nuclear missile fields, is at risk for bursting over its weight limit, a congressional watchdog said earlier this month.

The Grey Wolf — built by prime contractor Boeing and based on Italian aerospace firm Leonardo’s AW139 helicopter — appears to be gliding through its development phase, having completed its critical design review five months earlier than predicted in June 2019. However, the Government Accountability Office has voiced concerns that the final weight of the aircraft could be more than expected and lead to some performance drawbacks.


What makes an ideal trainer? Flying the Leonardo TH-119

I remember my first helicopter flight. My instructor gave me control in the hover, and the cockpit was soon a flurry of elbows and knees as I struggled to remain within roughly a cubic mile of sky. Characteristically unstable, learning to hover the CH-139 JetRanger, in which I received my Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pilot wings, was like learning to swim by being thrown into the deep end of the pool. But, alas, that was a long time ago; technology changes everything.

My recollections of helicopter training came to mind as I arrived at Leonardo Helicopters? modern facilities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Under the Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS) program, the U.S. Navy has invited bids for a new military training helicopter to replace its aged and threadbare Bell TH-57B/C Sea Ranger helicopters; my mission was to help ferry Leonardo?s contender, the TH-119, to the Naval Helicopter Association fly-in in Pensacola, Florida.


SB-1 Defiant, AW139 Under Consideration As Coast Guard MH-65 Replacement

Among options eyed by the U.S. Coast Guard for a replacement of the service’s Airbus MH-65 Dolphin–first fielded in 1984–are the SB-1 Defiant prototype under development for the U.S. Army by Boeing and Sikorsky, the Leonardo AW139 , and some variant of the MH-60 by Sikorsky, according to defense industry sources. “Something has to happen by 2024,” said one defense industry source. The Coast Guard has 98 MH-65s in service.


Boeing Wins $9.2B T-X Trainer Contract: Low Price, High Risk

WASHINGTON: Aerospace behemoth Boeing will build the new T-X jet trainer, the Air Force announced this afternoon, beating out the Lockheed/KAI T-50?and the Leonardo DRS/CAE T-100 after years of maneuvering and uncertainty that saw multiple companies drop out of the competition. The first planes will enter service at Randolph Air Force base in 2023, with full operational capability at 2024, ultimately training all jet fighter and bomber pilots at Air Education & Training Command bases around the country.