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

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WASHINGTON—TheU.S.AirForce’snewMH-139GreyWolfhelicopter,whichwillreplacetheUH-1NHuey

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.

“The helicopter, as it is currently designed, may not be able to meet all performance requirements if the final weight of the aircraft exceeds design parameters,” the GAO said in a June report on major defense acquisition programs. “If an appropriate weight is not achieved, the aircraft may not be able to meet requirements for speed or range. Air Force officials stated that they expect to determine the final weight of the aircraft in December 2019.”

US Air Force’s new Grey Wolf helicopter needs to watch its weight US Air Force’s new Grey Wolf helicopter needs to watch its weight cricket #story_5346.lazy-wrapper{position:relative;height:0;overflow:hidden;padding-bottom:56.17977528089888%}#story_5346.lazy-wrapper img{position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%}
The US Air Force’s UH-1N Huey replacement helicopter has a new name

The first helicopter was delivered to the Air Force on Dec. 19.

By: Valerie Insinna

In response to questions from Defense News, the Air Force said it knew about the risk of excess weight since it awarded the contract to Boeing in 2018, and it is keeping an eye on the issue.

“The Air Force has been closely monitoring monthly weight reports from Boeing. To date, the aircraft weight is within requirements to meet speed and range key performance parameters,” Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Cara Bousie said.

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