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Sikorsky delivers 100th New Production UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopter to US Army

25th March 2009 - 18:45 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


In a rollout ceremony attended by government officials, armed services personnel, and employees, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. today celebrated delivery of the 100th new production UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter to the US Army.

With a new airframe, avionics and propulsion system, the UH-60M helicopter is the latest and most modern in a series of Black Hawk variants that Sikorsky has been delivering to the Army without interruption since 1978.

"The UH-60M helicopter delivers great technology and a load of confidence based on Sikorsky's three decades of experience in designing, building and servicing the workhorse of the United States Army," said Sikorsky President Jeffrey P. Pino, a retired US Army Master Aviator with 26 years of combined active, reserve and National Guard service.

"I can talk about the aircraft's reduced pilot workload, increased lift, better protection and enhanced survivability, but nothing means more than when soldiers tell us how much they depend on and trust this helicopter."

Col. L. Neil Thurgood, Utility Helicopters Project Manager for the US Army, noted an entire battalion of the aircraft has deployed to Afghanistan. "The UH-60M Black Hawk has been warmly received by our soldiers who appreciate its performance, durability and robust design," said Col. Thurgood, who spent time with employees in the Stratford plant, thanking them for the important part they play in America's defense.

The Army currently has more than 1,740 Black Hawk variants with more than 5.8 million combined flight hours in inventory, constituting the world's largest and most battle-tested Black Hawk fleet. The Army Black Hawk fleet will soon exceed more than 1 million hours of combat duty in the Iraq and Afghanistan war theaters since 2003.

"The Black Hawk is a great aircraft, the military's battlefield transport of choice," Pino said. "With the UH-60M helicopter, the Army and Sikorsky are building upon that tradition and ensuring that it will continue for generations to come."

The UH-60M helicopter's new composite spar wide-chord blade will provide 227 kg (500 lbs) more lift than the current UH-60L blade. The new General Electric T700-GE-701D engine will add more horsepower and allow additional lift during external lift (sling load) operations.

The UH-60M helicopter represents the Army's third standard baseline Black Hawk version in the 30-year production history of the program.

Sikorsky delivered the UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters from 1978 until 1989, and delivered the UH-60L from 1989 until 2008. Not content with the status quo, Sikorsky is even now working on an upgrade to the UH-60M helicopter. The upgrade will feature fly-by-wire flight controls, full authority digital engine controllers, enhanced cockpit displays and a composite tail-cone. Brig. General Walter Davis, Director of Army Aviation, received a briefing on this effort.


The Shephard News Team


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