Sikorsky delivers 5,000th H-60 helicopter
Sikorsky has delivered the 5,000th H-60, a UH-60M Black Hawk for the US Army, as the Lockheed Martin company celebrates its 100thanniversary this year.
Sikorsky president Paul Lemmo said in a 20 January statement: ‘The Black Hawk and its variants deliver when reliability and performance are non-negotiable. Hawk aircraft continue to demonstrate their versatility and readiness with the latest technological advancements and ongoing US and global investment in the aircraft.’
According to Shephard Defence Insight, the Black Hawk is one of the most widely deployed helicopters in military service, with other variants used by the USAF, USCG, USN and numerous export customers.
The Sikorsky H-60/S-70 is a medium transport/utility helicopter, which entered US Army service in 1979 as the UH-60A Black Hawk. This version was succeeded by the UH-60L in 1987.
Since 2006, Sikorsky has been delivering the latest UH-60M variant to the US Army and various international militaries.
The UH-60M is designed to offer reduced pilot workload, increased lift, better protection and enhanced survivability for aircraft and crew, while the USAF MH/HH-60G is for special operations and SAR.
‘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 [for] another 40 years and beyond,’ Col Calvin Lane, the utility helicopter project manager for the Program Executive Office Aviation added in the Sikorsky statement.
Although the US Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programme is set to replace around 2,000 Black Hawk utility helicopters from 2030 onwards, it does not serve as a one-to-one replacement - it will take over the roles the Black Hawk carries out.
Sikorsky said as the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift aircraft are fielded, ‘the Black Hawk will remain the foundational tactical air assault and utility aircraft for the US Army. Modernisation efforts that improve Black Hawk availability and reliability by lowering direct operating costs.’
Last February, the company flew its first uninhabited, optionally piloted vehicle (OVP) UH-60A/S-70 Black Hawk testbed helicopter that was powered by Sikorsky MATRIX autonomy technology.
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