GREAT FALLS- Malmstrom Air Force Base will be the official first home of the Grey Wolf helicopters.
After years of trying to secure new helicopters for Malmstrom, both Senator Jon Tester and Senator Steve Daines say these new helicopters will improve national security.
“Today’s announcement that Malmstrom will be receiving these critical helicopter upgrades is great news for Montana and our country’s national security,” Daines said. “I’m proud to have fought to secure this critical upgrade for Malmstrom and I look forward to seeing the upgraded helicopters in action in the future.”
“After repeated delays, this announcement is welcomed news for our brave men and women at Malmstrom Air Force Base who will be first in line to receive this long-awaited helicopter replacement fleet,” said Tester. “At a time of increased global threats and near peer adversaries, this new batch of helicopters will strengthen our nation’s defense capabilities, secure our ICBM fields, and provide greater relief and certainty to the airmen who work tirelessly to keep us safe. I’m proud to have championed this effort in Congress to ensure our Air Force’s defense needs are met now, and well into the future.”
Malmstrom will replace the 8 Huey’s that are currently being used with 11 new MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopters.
The new replacement choppers will not only be faster and able to fly longer but will also bring forth more trip capacity which will be a huge benefit when it comes to security.
“The biggest part of our job at the 40th Helicopter Squadron is ICBM security, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. So, a faster helicopter means faster response times if we have an emergency security response that we have to go out there and defend the missile site”, says Captain Derek Romanyk, who is with the 40th Helicopter Squadron.
Along with getting new Grey Wolf helicopters, this year the 40th Helicopter Squadron won the Fleming Award for ‘Best Helicopter Squadron in Air Force Global Strike Command’, which is named after Colonel James P. Fleming.
To show their honor a historical designed was painted in the scheme of the 20th Special Operations Squadron, which is the squadron the Colonel flew when he won the Medal of Honor.
This historical design is a reminder of what Col. Fleming embodied.
“Fleming embodies that warrior spirit that every Huey pilot, flight engineer maintainer, and aircrew flight equipment member has. We're just one part of multilayer defense that is tasked to protect the nation's nuclear arsenal.”
Two of these Grey Wolf helicopters are expected to be in by the Fall of next year and the new fleet is expected to be fully operational by 2023.