March 2 (UPI) -- Boeing and its industry partner Leonardo have jointly entered the MH-139 helicopter into the U.S. Air Force's competition to replace its legacy Huey rotorcraft.
The Air Force plans to procure 84 new helicopters as part of the branch's UH-1N Replacement Program. The Huey currently protects intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, and is also used to support military transport missions.
Boeing's submission is based on Leonardo's AW139 helicopter. The Italy-based defense contractor says the MH-139 can provide over $1 billion in acquisitions and life-cycle savings over a 30-year period.
"The outstanding superior technology and operational capabilities of our products, including the AW139, once again allow us to compete for significant market opportunities," Leonardo CEO Mauro Moretti said in a press release.
Boeing officials went on to suggest the AW139 is already a popular purchase.
"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 Judy Fedder, Boeing's director of global sales and marketing.
Roughly 900 AW139s are in service for 250 governments, armed forces and private enterprises, according to Boeing.