Boeing announced Thursday that they intend to enter the competition to replace the Air Force’s venerable Huey helicopter with a MH-139 variant of the Leonardo AW139. Leonardo, an Italian aerospace company  says there are about 900 AW139s in service around the world in many countries including Ireland, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Thailand according to Boeing.

Photo by Boeing

“This Northeast Philadelphia-built aircraft is sized to meet U.S. Air Force requirements and offers more than $1 billion in acquisition and lifecycle expense savings over 30 years when compared to competitor aircraft,” David Koopersmith, vice president and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift, said in a release.

“The fact that the AW139 is being built today on an active production line will speed it to meet the time-critical demand following the competition,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Judy Fedder, director of global sales and marketing for Boeing Integrated Logistics. – DoDBuzz

Watch the Leonardo AW139 in Action

There is more than one company bidding to replace the aging UH-1N Huey helicopter. Sikorsky (owned by Lockheed) said this month that it will offer a  partially modified HH-60U Blackhawk. The Air Force currently has some Blackhawk helicopters that it has primarily been using for special operation mission insertion and recovery.

Featured image of the MH-139 helicopter Boeing hopes to replace the Air Force Huey with by Boeing