FLIR Systems announced it has been selected by Boeing to provide the FLIR Star SAFIRE 380-HDc EO/IR surveillance sensor for the United States Air Force (USAF) UH-1N replacement contract.
The Air Force in September chose the Boeing-Leonardo team’s MH-139 to replace its aging UH-1 fleet. The helicopters will oversee security and provide operational support at Air Force nuclear missile fields in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota and provide doomsday VIP transport in the Washington, D.C., region. New MH-139s also will be used for training, test and operational support airlift missions.
An initial $375 million contract — of an estimated $2.4 billion total program value — awarded Sept. 24 covers the first four helicopters. The initial contract award to FLIR covers integration of the FLIR Star SAFIRE 380-HDc on those four helicopters. If chosen to continue the work on the remaining 80 helicopters the Air Force plans to buy, FLIR stands to pull in $40 million.
The basic award of a contract to Boeing, including options, valued at approximately $2.38 billion, provides for acquisition and sustainment of up to 84 MH-139 helicopters, training devices, and associated support equipment. If all options are exercised, the work is expected to be completed by September 2031.
FLIR has provided the surveillance component for the current UH-1N helicopters in use by the U.S. Strategic Command since the mid-1990. FLIR has also been a part of EO/IR surveillance system upgrades on these aircraft and recently, contracted to upgrade a set of aircraft to the FLIR Star SAFIRE 380-HDc prior to fielding the new aircraft.
“We are honored to be selected by Boeing as part of this vital national security mission,” said Jim Cannon, President and CEO at FLIR. “Our airborne imaging solutions will ensure enhanced surveillance and threat detection for the U.S. Strategic Command Mission, helping to keep our airmen and citizens safe.”
The sensors will be manufactured by the FLIR Government and Defense Business Unit in the company’s Wilsonville, Oregon facility. The helicopters, derived from the Leonardo commercial AW139, will be assembled at Leonardo’s Philadelphia plant. Boeing will integrate military components at its facility in Philadelphia.
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