The US Air Force Global Strike Command named the MH-139A helicopter ‘Grey Wolf’ during a naming ceremony held this week.
According to a release from the force, General Timothy Ray made the announcement, comparing it to the wild animal that bears the same name.
The Grey Wolf is reportedly the first major acquisition for the command in its 10-year history. 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.
“It strikes fear in the hearts of many,” Ray said.
“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 US Air Force say that 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. Other mission capabilities include civil search and rescue, airlift support, National Capital Region missions, as well as survival school and test support.
“The roll out of the new helicopter demonstrates an asset providing 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 full and open competition at a cost of $2.38 billion for up to 84 aircraft–$1.7 billion under budget. It is the command’s first commercial “off-the-shelf” purchase, adding military-unique modifications.”
The US Air Force will procure up to 84 MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters, training devices and associated support equipment from Boeing.
The Grey Wolf will replace the UH-1N, which entered the US Air Force in 1970.