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Air Force delays procurement of Grey Wolf helicopters

Submitted Photo Procurement of the Air Force’s MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter, shown in this Air Force photo, is being deferred for a year because of certification delays.

Due to delays with certifying the MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter, the Air Force has decided to take a year off from buying the new helicopter and funding is not being included in the fiscal year 2022 budget.

Minot Air Force Base and other intercontinental ballistic missile bases are to receive the new helicopter to replace the Vietnam-era UH-1N Hueys that provide security and support for the intercontinental ballistic missile fields in North Dakota and other states.

The Air Force is deferring the procurement of the new helicopter until fiscal year 2023. The procurement is not in the fiscal year 2022 budget because of the Federal Aviation Administration certification issue. Technical issues were discovered during the contractor’s testing, causing the certification delays, according to Air Force officials.

A new Helicopter Operations and Tactical Response Force Facility is scheduled for construction at Minot AFB.

“We have the funding in place for the helicopter hangar facility and that work should start at Minot Air Force Base sometime this summer. As far as funding the helicopter, we’ll work to secure funding to keep the helicopter on schedule, but they do need to complete the FAA certification,” said U.S. Sen. John Hoeven.

Besides Minot AFB, F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming and Malmstrom AFB in Montana are to receive the new helicopters.

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