Grey Wolf helicopter makes first visit to WPAFB

  • Published
  • By Allyson B. Crawford and Jim Varhegyi, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Public Affairs
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (AFLCMC) - Select Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Airmen recently had the chance to see the MH-139A Grey Wolf in person. The helicopter was flown to WPAFB for a stop-over and static display on 1 November. This was the first time the Grey Wolf landed at Wright-Patterson.
The Grey Wolf will replace the fleet of Vietnam-era UH-1N aircraft and provide a significant capability increase in speed, range, endurance, payload and survivability.
The visit gave members of the ISR-SOF Directorate and MH-139A System Program Office the opportunity to see beyond the paperwork side of the acquisition process.
"The program office was proud to welcome the MH-139A to Wright-Patterson AFB for the first time," said Matt Beck, MH-139A Program Manager. "The acquisition team was able to speak directly to AFGSC Det 7 and Leonardo pilots while obtaining hands on experience with the aircraft to ensure we are delivering the right warfighting capabilities for our Airmen."
Air Force Global Strike Command stood up Detachment 7 at Duke Field in Florida in 2019 to support testing of the Grey Wolf. Detachment 7 works with AFMC's 413th Flight Test Squadron. Leonardo is a key Boeing supplier and manufacturer of the commercially-available AW-139 from which the MH-139A is derived. It also has a flight training academy that is preparing the Air Force’s future MH-139A flight crew.
"We [program office employees] were allowed to board the aircraft after the aircrew landed," explained Chris Keating, Systems Engineer for the MH-139A. "I climbed aboard the cabin and sat in the troop seats to get a better sense of the layout and the space. Sitting in the cabin gave me a glimpse of how our warfighters would interact with the helicopter during their missions. The visit was a great opportunity to hear feedback from some of our USAF pilots and their opinions of how the MH-139A compares to the UH-1N. During our discussions, we used the helicopter as a giant visual aide. As much as I enjoyed seeing the helicopter in person for the first time, I think discussing the helicopter with the pilots was the most valuable part of the visit."
Flight Crew members who brought the MH-139A to WPAFB were Lt Col Jeremy McPherson and Maj Joseph Burchell of Det 7 plus Larry Anderley, Thomas Podulka and Edwin Reese Thompson of Leonardo.  The Air Force officially took ownership of the Grey Wolf on 17 August after earning military flight release a few days earlier.
The MH-139A is produced by Boeing. The Air Force will acquire up to 80 MH-139A helicopters.