The Department of the Air Force selected Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, as the fourth location to host MH-139 Grey Wolves. The 25 new helicopters will replace the base’s 21 aging UH-1N Hueys. The additional four aircraft will allow the base to execute continuation of government operations and distinguished visitor transport mission requirements without augmenting support units. Basing the new helicopters at JBA was based on factors related to mission, base capacity, community support, cost and environmental considerations.
In addition to providing updated capabilities to support missions in the National Capital Region, the Grey Wolf will increase speed, range, endurance, payload and survivability in support of the intercontinental ballistic missile mission, civil search and rescue, airlift and survival school/testing. The manpower required to support this mission will grow from 235 personnel to approximately 310. DAF is expected to complete the required environmental assessment in summer 2023 before a final decision is made.
The MH-139A Grey Wolf is a militarised version of the AW139 commercial helicopter developed by Boeing and Leonardo to replace the ageing UH-1N Huey fleet of the US Air Force. The US Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) received the first MH-139A helicopter and named it “Grey Wolf” in December 2019. The MH-139A Grey Wolf will support the intercontinental ballistic missile missions of the US covering Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Colorado, and Nebraska while complementing the country’s nuclear deterrence operations in line with the National Defence Strategy.
The MH-139A Grey Wolf is a dual-piloted, twin-engine helicopter integrated with survivability enhancement features as well as military communication and navigation systems. The survivability enhancement features include cockpit and cabin armour, self-sealing crashworthy fuel cells, AN/AAR-47 missile warning system and AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser set, a forward-looking infrared camera system and two externally-mounted M240 crew-served weapons. The main rotor system is equipped with five blades and a completely articulated fail-safe system, resulting in high performance and low noise.