DH - Defence Helicopter

Lithuania eyes UH-60M Black Hawks

18th October 2019 - 15:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence has announced that it will procure UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to replace its Mi-8 fleet.

Six of the type will be acquired via the US government’s foreign military sale programme, with negotiations expected to begin shortly. The timeline sought willo see a Letter of Offer and Acceptance signed by the end of 2020 and deliveries to commence in 2024.

The Lithuanian armed forces currently deploy three Mi-8 aircraft which are approaching the end of their service life and becoming expensive and difficult to maintain; and three AS365 N3+ Dauphin helicopters that are mainly used for search and rescue operations and environmental protection surveillance in the territory of Lithuania.

The new utility helicopters are planned to be used for search and rescue operations, and by the Lithuanian armed forces and the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Lithuania.

The acquisition is possibly to be funded by US security assistance funds.

Minister of National Defence, Raimundas Karoblis said: ‘Direct acquisition of the capability from the US government will supply Lithuania not only with a utility helicopter but also with a package of training, spare parts and necessary equipment. There is also a high probability that it will bring us additional financial support through the different US security assistance funds.’

Lithuania is a key partner for the US for the security of the Baltic region. The two countries cooperate across a range of areas, and the US has made extensive investments to Lithuania’s military training areas and other infrastructure as part of its security assistance programmes.

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