On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) questioned Air Force officials about their budget requests for the upcoming defense bill, in particular, why the number of MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopters had been cut in half.

Pilots for the helicopters are currently being trained at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery.

“[U.S. Air Force] Sec. [Frank] Kendall, recently, I guess you decided to cut in half the MH-139s, and we've got one or two. I think we've got eight total eventually coming to Montgomery in Maxwell. What's your plan on this?”

Kendall said the reduction had to do with a change in military strategy.

“I think Maxwell has one already, and another a little later this year, and then the full eight about a year after that,” he said. “We did cut the buy back. We cut it from about 80 to about 40. And the reason for that was that the threat change in the areas in which we expect to operate have changed. So, it's a fairly expensive special purpose helicopter that doesn't have that much utility in some of the theatres where we'd have to operate given the threshold there.”

He continued, “And there are a number of other assets in many cases can be used for personnel recovery. So, we basically downsized it to have what we think is reasonable for us to meet our needs given the changes in the threat. That's been the fundamental driver.”

To connect with the story's author or comment, email daniel.taylor@1819news.com or find him on X and Facebook.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.