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Malmstrom AFB celebrates the arrival of new Grey Wolf helicopter

MH-139A Grey Wolf prepares to land at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., March 5, 2024. (Photo by Senior Airman Breanna Christopher Volkmar)
Posted at 11:21 PM, Mar 09, 2024

GREAT FALLS — On Saturday, March 9, 2024, Malmstrom Air Force Base celebrated the recent arrival of its first MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter. The state-of-the-art helicopters are replacing the UH-1N Huey helicopters that Malmstrom has been using since 1970.

“Its been in the works, the acquisition process has been in the works,” said Captain Brock Flieger of the 550th Helicopter Squadron at Malmstrom Air Force Base. “There's people who have been retired now who have been told for a number of years that they were getting a new helicopter and don't get me wrong, we love we love flying the Huey. She's reliable. Of course, she's historic and we have a great time, but the difference is uncanny between the two.”

The new Grey Wolf helicopters are 50% faster, can travel 50% further, have a 30% larger cabin, and can lift 5,000 more pounds than their outdated counterparts.

“For the foreseeable future, we're going to see the Huey start to phase out and the 139 starting to take its spot,” Flieger said, “And then we're expecting to have it for decades to come.”

Compared to the old-fashioned, more manual UH-1N Huey helicopters, the new Grey Wolf helicopters have state of the art avionics and auto pilots, which ultimately help reduce the pilot and crew workload required while flying.

Grey Wolf
New Grey Wolf helicopter at Malmstrom Air Force Base.

“There will be definitely a mindset shift going from one helicopter to the other,” Flieger said, “But we have a lot of those training opportunities in place so that we'll be able to make that conversion seamlessly.”

Additional speakers at the ceremony included U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Lieutenant Colonel Tyler Williams, the commander of the 550th Helicopter Squadron, and Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Vertical Lift Kathleen Jolivette.

“[Boeing has] flown in a perfectly capable helicopter. And in the next coming weeks, we're going to see more and more getting shipped,” Flieger said, “We're expecting one more next week and two in a month from now.”

Malmstrom expects to have their full fleet of Grey Wolf helicopters by December of 2025.

Malmstrom AFB will receive new Grey Wolf helicopters