Senator John Hoeven announced that the U.S. Air Force has confirmed that Minot Air Force Base (MAFB) will host the MH-139 Grey Wolf with an expected delivery date in 2026. As a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, Hoeven has worked to secure funding for the Grey Wolf helicopters and a new helicopter facility at MAFB needed to house the MH-139. Hoeven spoke with Air Force Assistant Secretary John Henderson and outlined the importance of keeping the new helicopters on schedule to replace the aging UH-1N Huey helicopters at MAFB. Hoeven confirmed that construction on MAFB’s new helicopter facility, which will accommodate the MH-139, is expected to start next summer and expected to take approximately two years to build.
“We’ve worked hard to modernize our nation’s nuclear forces at Minot Air Force and across the country,” said Hoeven. “Given the age of the Huey helicopters, securing these new Grey Wolf helicopters and a facility to house them has been one of my highest priorities for Minot Air Force Base. With the Air Force officially basing the Grey Wolf at Minot Air Force Base, we’re on track to have these new helicopters in Minot in 2026.”
As a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, Hoeven has worked to ensure the modernization of the nation’s nuclear forces remains on track. This includes replacing the Vietnam-era UH-1N Huey helicopters that provide security for the ICBM silos. To this end, the senator:
- Helped secure $538 million for the new helicopter fleet in annual appropriations legislation since FY2018.
- The Senate’s FY2021 defense funding legislation, which was released last week, included an additional $235 million to develop, test and purchase the MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopters.
- Repeatedly pressed the Air Force and Department of Defense to move forward with the replacement as quickly as possible, provide a detailed timeline for the replacement and ensure greater transparency in the Air Force’s plans for improving the security of the missile silos.
- Provided more than $71 million across fiscal year 2019 and 2020 for a new helicopter facility at the Minot Air Force Base. The existing facilities are aging and will not accommodate new helicopters that will replace the Hueys currently deployed at the base.