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Meet The New Air Force Helicopters Guarding Nuclear Bases

Boeing Co. was awarded a large contract to supply the US Air Force with new helicopters to guard intercontinental ballistic missile bases across the US, the Pentagon said.

The contract calls for 84 Boeing MH-139, a 15-seat medium-sized twin-engined helicopter developed and produced by AgustaWestland in Northeast Philadelphia, will replace the service’s aging Bell UH-1 Iroquois fleet, currently guarding nuclear bases in Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota.

The Pentagon announced the contract on Sept. 24, is worth more than $375 million and covers the first four MH-139 helicopters, which the Air Force expects to take delivery by 2021. If all goes well, the full value of the contract would unlock, an estimated $2.4 billion, and supply the Air Force with 84 new helicopters and other maintenance services through 2031.

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“Strong competition drove down costs for the program, resulting in $1.7 billion in savings to the taxpayers,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said in a separate statement.

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