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