NonStop Local: MAFB welcomes new Grey Wolf helicopters

by Joee Taylor

Saturday begins a new era for Malmstrom Air Force Base as they welcome in the new MH-139 Grey Wolf Helicopters. 

“It is a great day for MAFB, it is a great day for Great Falls, it’s a great day for North Central Montana, it is a great day for Montana, and it is a great day for this nation,” said Montana Senator Jon Tester. 

We first told you about these new helicopters in 2020.

“It [the Grey Wolf] provides the tools, techniques, and procedures because of the inherent capabilities of this platform,” said General Thomas Bussiere, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command. 

The Grey Wolf features unmatched system integration, a state of the art avionics system, and advanced flight deck functionality. 

Some of the key benefits of the new aircraft include: 

  • Cruises 50% faster, flies 50% farther, has a 30% larger cabin, and can lift 5,000 more pounds than the legacy platform, while introducing full autopilot capability to reduce pilot workload.
  • State-of-the-art avionics system with advanced flight deck functionality and improved situational awareness resulting in reduced crew workload.
  • Right-sized aircraft for maximum operational efficiency and lower operating & support costs.

“We need 21st century equipment if we’re going to attack 21st century threats. This is part of that,” said Senator Tester. 

Airmen at Malmstrom Air Force Base tell me they are excited to see the new helicopter and say training starts ASAP. 

“So, we’re pretty much starting up immediately next week, we’re going to kind of jump into the systems knowledge of it. Later this month, we’re going to be traveling down to Louisiana for a simulator. And after that, we should be coming back and immediately you’ll see them flying around in the skies,” said TSgt William Sines, a flight chief with the 550th Helicopter Squadron. 

According to a fact sheet provided the Air Force, the Grey Wolf’s lower operating costs, increased reliability & improved maintainability translate into more than $1B in savings for the Air Force across the aircraft’s life cycle.

Boeing’s MH-139A meets or exceeds all U.S. Air Force requirements at the most affordable price by reducing the cost and manpower required to operate and maintain the aircraft. 

“I want the American people to know that the Airmen in Montana, whether they are out in the missile field operating or maintaining them or flying the Grey Wolf helicopter, are preforming for them the most important mission in our nation,” said Gen. Bussiere.