Australia will acquire 40 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawks, which are designed and manufactured by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company. The deal between the Australian and United States governments for a foreign military sale of 40 UH-60Ms for the Australian Army is valued at approximately $1.95 billion. Deliveries are slated to begin early this year.
«The multi-mission UH-60M Black Hawk provides the Australian Army with critical capabilities that will strengthen Australia’s readiness, interoperability and security for decades to come», said Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo. «We continue to invest in Black Hawk modernization to provide operators with the competitive edge they require to counter and deter threats today and in future Joint All-Domain Operations».
The UH-60M Black Hawks will replace Australia’s current non-Black Hawk multi-role helicopter fleet with a more reliable and proven system.
«We have proudly sustained Australia’s Black Hawk fleet for decades», said Nathalie Previte, Sikorsky’s vice president of Army and Air Force programs. «This experience coupled with Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky’s investment in our Australian team and local facilities strongly positions us to support the Australian Army’s operational and maintenance needs».
Sikorsky’s U.S. workforce and hot production lines are actively producing aircraft. The U.S. Government awarded Sikorsky its tenth multi-year production contract in 2022 to build Black Hawks for the U.S. Army and international militaries. These next generation aircraft will be in operation for the next several decades and alongside future fleets.
The Black Hawk is unmatched for durability, survivability, multi-role versatility, affordability and interoperability, and has proven to be a dependable battlefield and special forces aviation asset for Australia and 34 other countries around the globe.
Lockheed Martin sees strong international interest in the Black Hawk and continues to invest in the platform – from sustainment to digital transformation and modernization – to provide militaries with the competitive edge they require today and in the future.
«Investments are aligned with the Black Hawk’s largest operator, the U.S. Army, and their technology roadmap, while leveraging Future Vertical Lift technologies to ensure the Black Hawk will be a key player in the Joint All Domain Operations environment and FVL ecosystem», said Previte.
The UH-60M helicopter culminates decades of technological advancement, improved performance and real-world operational experience. Digital avionics and autopilot reduce pilot workload while enhancing situational awareness and improving survivability.
Previte adds, «We are confident that the Black Hawk, which is designed and built to meet the rigorous requirements of the U.S. military, is the most capable platform and the right choice to help fulfill the Australian Army’s rotary wing needs and that of our existing and future customers».
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, on January 20, 2023 delivered its 5,000th «Hawk» variant helicopter, a U.S. Army UH-60M Black Hawk. The iconic aircraft will continue to support medium-lift requirements for the U.S. military and international operators for decades into the future.
Sikorsky celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.
«Sikorsky, as a company, has been forged by the Black Hawk», said Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo. «The Black Hawk and its variants deliver when reliability and performance are nonnegotiable. Hawk aircraft continue to demonstrate their versatility and readiness with the latest technological advancements and ongoing U.S. and global investment in the aircraft».
Customers worldwide depend on the Black Hawk platform and its derivatives, including MH-60R/S maritime operations helicopters, MH-60T multi-mission helicopters, HH-60W rescue helicopters and internationally built S-70 Black Hawks to include the baseline FIREHAWK, which have all proven their versatility and capability across a spectrum of challenging mission sets.
Sikorsky’s highly skilled and experienced workforce manufactures the latest generation of Hawk aircraft built in Stratford, and there is high international demand for the Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk, manufactured by Lockheed Martin’s PZL Mielec facility in Poland. More than 35 international customers operate the Black Hawk thanks to its global support network and continued modernization.
The U.S. Army, the largest Black Hawk operator, noted the key role the aircraft continues to fulfill during military and civil operations around the world, in addition to its significant contribution towards Joint All Domain Operations.
«For more than 40 years the Black Hawk has remarkably supported Soldiers in every major contingency operation the Army has executed», said Colonel Calvin Lane, the utility helicopter project manager for the Program Executive Office Aviation. «Even though the helicopter has been around longer than most of the Soldiers it now supports, the Army plans for it to be in front line service another 40 years and beyond. And everyone who contributes to the delivery of this aircraft in any way, contributes directly to providing combat capability that protects Soldiers and helps the Army accomplish its mission».
The Future of the Black Hawk
As U.S. Army Future Vertical Lift (FVL) aircraft are fielded, the Black Hawk will remain the foundational tactical air assault and utility aircraft for the U.S. Army. Modernization efforts that improve Black Hawk availability and reliability by lowering direct operating costs include:
A Modular Open Systems Approach allowing rapid integration of emerging technologies to maintain relevance in future operations by increasing reach, survivability, lethality and sustainment;
Improved Turbine Engine to increase lift capability and range;
Advanced Digital Vehicle Management Systems supporting Degraded Visual Environment and automated operations;
Digital tools including predictive analytics that reduce aircraft downtime and maintenance costs.
In February 2022, Lockheed Martin flew its first uninhabited Optionally Piloted Vehicle (OPV) Sikorsky UH-60A/S-70 Black Hawk testbed helicopter powered by Sikorsky’s MATRIX autonomy technology in collaboration with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Subsequent flights at U.S. Army’s Project Convergence 2022 demonstrated future utility missions for the platform, which shows no signs of relinquishing its preeminent medium-lift capability through continuous innovation and investment.
«We are committed to all H-60 and S-70 operators and look forward to enduring partnerships on the Hawk program in the years to come», added Nathalie Previte, vice president of Army and Air Force Systems at Sikorsky. «It remains our priority to fulfill our customers’ requirements and meet the needs of current and future operational units. With unmatched versatility and global interoperability, Hawk aircraft continue to advance 21st century security».
According to Defense News, Latvia has been cleared by the U.S. State Department to buy four UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, in a move to bolster the NATO nation’s ability to move forces around the alliance’s eastern flank.
The sale has an estimated price tag of $200 million, which covers the four rotorcraft, 10 engines and associated equipment.
As with all announcements by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the sale must pass through the Senate, at which point negotiations can begin; total quantities and dollar totals often change from the original DSCA announcement and final sale.
«This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally», according to a DSCA statement. «These UH-60 helicopters will allow for interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces in rapid response to a variety of missions, and quick positioning of troops with minimal helicopter assets».
«The sale of these UH-60 helicopters to Latvia will significantly increase its capability to provide troop lift, border security, anti-terrorist, medical evacuation, search and rescue, re-supply/external lift, and combat support in all weather», the statement noted.
The prime contractor for the helicopter is Sikorsky’s location in Stratford, Connecticut; the engines will be produced by General Electric Aviation Company in Lynn, Massachusetts. There are no industrial offsets associated with the potential deal.
On June 30, 2017, the U.S. government and Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, signed a five-year contract for 257 H-60 Black Hawk helicopters to be delivered to the U.S. Army and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. The multi-year contract will yield significant savings for the U.S. government compared with purchasing the same quantity across five separate annual agreements.
The «Multi-Year IX» contract for UH-60M Black Hawk and HH-60M MEDEVAC aircraft marks the ninth multiple-year contract for Sikorsky and the U.S. government for H-60 helicopters. The contract value for expected deliveries is approximately $3.8 billion and includes options for an additional 103 aircraft, with the total contract value potentially reaching $5.2 billion. Actual production quantities will be determined year-by-year over the life of the program based on funding allocations set by Congress and Pentagon acquisition priorities. The deliveries are scheduled to begin in October of this year and continue through 2022.
The UH-60M/HH-60M helicopters are the latest and most modern in a series of Black Hawk variants that Sikorsky has been delivering to the Army since 1978. They provide additional payload and range, advanced digital avionics, better handling qualities and situational awareness, active vibration control, improved survivability, and improved producibility.
«Four decades of production, strong program execution and delivery on behalf of the warfighter, coupled with great affordability for the taxpayer, have been the cornerstones of this program», said Sam Mehta, President, Defense Systems and Services, Sikorsky. «This contract allows us to continue supporting the important missions the Black Hawk performs as the workhorse utility and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) helicopter in the U.S. Army inventory».
Colonel Billy Jackson, the Utility Helicopters Project Manager stated that, «This contract will provide our Army, sister services and allies with state-of-the-art modernized helicopters to complete crucial missions and save lives. Moreover, this effort will stabilize our manufacturing base and control long-term costs, and ultimately provide significant savings to the taxpayer».
The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Slovakia for UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $450 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on February 18, 2015.
The Government of Slovakia has requested a possible sale of:
9 UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters in standard U.S. Government configuration with designated unique equipment and Government Furnished Equipment (GFE);
20 T700-GE-701D Engines (18 installed and 2 spares);
20 Embedded Global Positioning Systems/Inertial Navigation Systems;
2 Aviation Mission Planning Systems;
1 Aviation Ground Power Unit;
11 AN/APX-123 Identification Friend or Foe Transponders;
20 Very High Frequency (VHF)/Digitally Selective Calling AN/ARC-231 radios;
11 ARN-147 VHF Omni Ranging/Instrument Landing System (VOR/ILS);
11 AN/ARN-153 Tactical Air Navigation Systems;
11 AN/ARC-201D Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems radios.
Also included are aircraft warranty, ammunition, air worthiness support, facility construction, spare and repair parts, support equipment, communication equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, site surveys, tool and test equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related element of program and logistics support. The estimated cost is $450 million.
This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally.
The proposed sale will improve Slovakia’s capability to deter regional threats and strengthen its homeland defense, as well as support counter-terrorism operations. The sale of these UH-60 helicopters will bolster Slovakia’s ability to provide border patrol, rapid reaction, and field expedient firefighting capability for its air and ground forces in counter-terrorism, border security, and humanitarian operations. Slovakia will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.
According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The principal contractors will be the Sikorsky Aircraft Company in Stratford, Connecticut; and General Electric Aircraft Company in Lynn, Massachusetts. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this potential sale.
Implementation of this proposed sale may require the assignment of an additional three U.S. Government and five contractor representatives in Slovakia to support the delivery and training for approximately two-five years.
There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.
UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopter
The UH-60M helicopter culminates more than 30 years of technological advancement, improved performance and real world experience. This advanced Black Hawk aircraft serves dependably in the most extreme conditions found on earth. With the integration of the U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems and automated aircraft health monitoring, the UH-60M provides superior vertical lift and is the «intelligent» choice for the battlefield of tomorrow.
Primary Function: Personnel recovery in hostile conditions and military operations other than war in day, night or marginal weather
Contractor: United Technologies/Sikorsky Aircraft Company
Length: 64 feet 8 in/17.1 m
Height: 16 feet 8 in/4.4 m
Rotor Diameter: 53 feet 7 in/14.1 m
Fuel Capacity: 4,500 pounds/2,041 kg
Payload: depends upon mission
Armament: Two 7.62-mm or .50 caliber machineguns
Crew: 2 pilots, 1 flight engineer and 1 gunner
Initial operating capability: 1982
Unit Cost: $40.1 million
Inventory: Active force, 67; ANG, 17; Reserve, 15
Powerplant and fuel system
Number of Engines: 2
Engine Type: T700-GE-701D
Maximum Take Off: 3,988 shp/2,974 kW
OEI Shaft horsepower (30 sec): 1,940 shp/1,447 kW
Crew @ total weight: 4 @ 980 lbs/444.5 kg
Troops @ weight/each: 11 @ 290 lbs/131.5 kg
Cargo hook capacity: 9,000 lbs/4082 kg
Weight empty: 12,511 lbs/5,675 kg
Primary mission gross weight: 19,398 lbs/8,799 kg
Maximum Gross Weight: 22,000 lbs/9,979 kg
Maximum Cruise Speed*: 151 knots/174 mph/280 km/h
Maximum Range – No Reserve: 276 NM/317.5 miles/511 km
Vertical Rate of Climb, feet per minute
16,800 lbs/7,620 kg, 4000 feet/1,219 m, 95°F, 95% IRP**: 1,553
18,000 lbs/8,165 kg, 4000 feet/1,219 m, 95°F, 95% IRP**: 941
HIGE*** Ceiling: 10,520 feet/3,206 m
HOGE**** Ceiling: 6,010 feet/1,831 m
OEI***** Service Ceiling: 6,500 feet/1,981 m
AEO****** Service Ceiling: 15,180 feet/4,626 m
* 16,800 lbs/7,620 kg, 4,000 feet/1,219 m, 95°F @ 100% MCP (Mode Control Panel)
** Intermediate Rated Power
*** Hovering In Ground Effect
**** Hovering Out of Ground Effect
***** One Engine Inoperative
****** All Engines Operating
Cabin Length: 12.6 feet/3.8 m
Cabin Width: 7.7 feet/2.3 m
Cabin Height: 4.5 feet/1.3 m
Cabin Area: 88 feet2/8.1 m2
Cabin Volume: 396 feet3/11.2 m3
Baggage Volume: 20 feet3/0.5 m3
Machined cabin structure
Multi-functional and durable 300 psi cabin flooring
Crashworthy Pilot and co-Pilot seats
Two sliding cargo doors with pop-out egress windows
Two jettisonable cockpit doors
Three point dual OLEO landing gear with kneeling capability
Active vibration control system
Wire strike protection system
Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS)
Foldable tail pylon for shipping and storage
Built-in work platforms, engine cowlings and hydraulic deck
Four-axis fully coupled flight director
Dual embedded global positioning
Two UHF/VHF AM/FM radios
Five digital ICS stations
Automatic direction finder
VOR/ILS (VHF Omni Ranging/Instrument Landing System)
Dual digital flight control computer
Powerplant and fuel system
Two T700-GE701D engines
Auxiliary power unit
Dual crashworthy and self-sealing fuel tanks, 360 gallons/1362.75 L
Left and right gravity refuel ports
Single point for close circuit and pressure refueling