US Air Force, August 13, 2020 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MD - Members of the U.S. Air Force 1st Helicopter Squadron here got their first look at the MH-139A Grey Wolf in Richmond, Virginia, as it made its way from the Boeing production line in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Duke Field, Florida.
Pilots from Boeing and Air Force Global Strike Command’s Detachment 7 jointly ferried the aircraft to its first stop, where it met its predecessor -- a 1st Helicopter Squadron Huey. The MH-139A was on its way to Duke Field, where developmental test operations are being conducted by Boeing and the 413th Flight Test Squadron supported by AFGSC Detachment 7.
“Since the Air Force announced the fleet replacement of the Huey last December, our team has been waiting in anticipation to have eyes-on our future asset,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Anne-Marie Contreras, 316th Operations Group commander. “We are so impressed with the partnership Global Strike Command has extended to us to make sure our mission requirements are met with the Grey Wolf.”
As the lead command and operational capability requirements sponsor, AFGSC works closely with the other Air Force major commands and agencies that will operate the Grey Wolf, to include Air Force District of Washington, Air Education and Training Command and Air Force Materiel Command, to ensure their requirements were addressed.
“A crew from the detachment at Duke Field was sent to Boeing’s production line in Philadelphia to pick up the MH-139A Grey Wolf,” said AFGSC Chief of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Requirements Lt. Col. Daniel Voorhies. “With the 1st Helicopter Squadron soon to be replacing the UH-1N Huey, we identified an opportunity for an impromptu exchange on the journey back to Florida.”
The 1st Helicopter Squadron’s primary mission is to support Department of Defense contingency plans for transport of key government officials should a national emergency arise. Its secondary missions of distinguished visitor flights, medical evacuations and search and rescue assistance occur daily.
“We take great pride in our National Capital Region missions that leave no room for failure,” Contreras said. “As we begin replacing the Huey, which entered operational service in the early 1960s, we look forward to the capability improvements and technological advancements that come with the Grey Wolf.”
This opportunity is one in a series of progressions for the MH-139A program. Voorhies commented that despite the many challenges the nation is facing with COVID-19, all facets of the MH-139A program continues to make great progress. On Aug. 4, senior leaders of the 341st Missile Wing, the first wing scheduled to receive the aircraft, conducted a ribbon cutting for the new MH-139A alert facility under construction at Malmstrom AFB, Montana.
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 AFDW’s National Capital Region missions, AFGSC’s intercontinental ballistic missile missions, civil search and rescue, airlift support, as well as survival school and test support.
The 1st Helicopter Squadron based at Andrews AFB, Maryland currently flies the VIP Bell UH-1N Twin-Huey in support of the Washington DC Executive Branch