Hunter: Air Force cutting MH-139A helicopter buy because of FRA

By Shelley K. Mesch / March 13, 2024 at 1:51 PM

The Air Force plans to cut in half its purchase of MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopters as a way to meet budget caps for its fiscal year 2025 request.

In previous budget requests, the service specified it would procure 74 Grey Wolves to replace the UH-1N Huey helos that have “significant capability gaps.” That buy would now be reduced to 36, according to justification documents released with the budget request Monday.

The cut is primarily a result of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, that limits overall defense spending to $895 billion for FY-25, Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter told reporters yesterday.

“It’s about the overall budget of the Air Force,” he said, “and what we’re able to afford and what we’re not able to afford.”

The service will place all the helicopters it’s buying at U.S. Global Strike Command nuclear sites, Hunter said. Other locations that would have received the new helicopters will now do without.

The Grey Wolves, made by Boeing and Leonardo, will primarily patrol nuclear silos. The program entered low-rate initial production a year ago after the companies and Air Force came to an agreement on the technical data package to support long-term organic sustainment.