Grey Wolf is name given to helicopter that will replace Hueys at Malmstrom

The helicopter that will replace the Hueys at Malmstrom Air Force Base in the coming years has been named Grey Wolf.

On Dec. 19, Air Force Global Strike Command held a naming ceremony at Duke Field in Florida for the MH-139A helicopter.

Gen. Timothy Ray, AFGSC commander, made the announcement, comparing it to the wild animal that bears the same name, according to an Air Force release.

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The Boeing aircraft is the first service-unique helicopter acquired by the Air Force, according to a release, and the first ever acquired by AFGSC.

The name Grey Wolf is derived from the wild species that roams the northern tier of North America, which also encompasses the intercontinental ballistic missile bases in AFGSC, according to a release.

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“It strikes fear in the hearts of many,” Ray said in a release. “Its range is absolutely inherent to the ICBM fields we have. As they hunt as a pack, they attack as one, they bring the force of many. That’s exactly how you need to approach the nuclear security mission.”

The helicopters will provide security and support for the nation’s ICBM fields which span Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska. The new helicopter closes the capability gaps of the UH-1N Huey in the areas of speed, range, endurance, payload and survivability in support of the command’s ICBM missions, according to the Air Force.

Other mission capabilities include civil search and rescue, airlift support, National Capital Region missions, as well as survival school and test support.

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The helicopters provide ICBM security in support of U.S. Strategic Command’s nuclear deterrence operations aligned with the National Defense Strategy.

The acquisition was contracted through Boeing during a competitive bid process at a cost of $2.38 billion for up to 84 aircraft — $1.7 billion under budget, according to AFGSC.

The Air Force will procure up to 84 MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters, training devices and associated support equipment from Boeing.

Earlier this month, the Air Force established Detachment 7, the unit that will support testing and evaluation of the new helicopter.

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The detachment will work in conjunction with Air Force Materiel Command’s 413th Flight Test Squadron, which is the Air Force’s only dedicated rotary test unit. Detachment 7 brings aircrew manning to the test effort and is comprised of pilots and special mission aviators, according to the release.

The unit will operated in temporary administrative and hangar facilities at Duke Field until it moves to Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls to perform additional testing and evaluation of the helicopter, according to the release.

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Detachment 7 will manage four helicopters, with the first scheduled to be delivered Dec. 19 at the naming and unveiling ceremony. The second aircraft is due to arrive mid-January 2020, while the third and fourth aircraft are scheduled to arrive in February.

Malmstrom is expected to be the first missile base to receive the new helicopters.

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“When I think about the issue in front of us, about moving forward in nuclear deterrence, when I stare down a wave of acquisition for essentially everything we do, I hope this particular program is a harbinger of very successful stories to follow not just for our command but for the good of the nation and for the good of our allies and partners,” Ray said in a release.

The MH-139A Grey Wolf will provide vertical airlift and support the requirements of five Air Force major commands and operating agencies: AFGSC, Air Force District of Washington, Air Education and Training Command, Air Force Materiel Command and Pacific Air Forces. AFGSC is the lead command and operational capability requirements sponsor, according to the release.