Sikorsky delivers 500th 'M' model Black Hawk
Sikorsky delivered the 500th H-60M Black Hawk in a special ceremony at the company's plant in Stratford, Conneticut on 18 July.
The deliveries to date include 400 UH-60M and 100 HH-60M medevac aircraft. Included in the 400 are 73 UH-60M sold by the US Army to six foreign militaries via the US Government's foreign military sales (FMS) programme.
According to the company, the need for an all-new 'M' model Black Hawk emerged during the late 1990s with the requirement to upgrade the analog UH-60A and UH-60L aircraft with a integrated digital cockpit, dual digital flight controls, wide-chord rotor blades, more powerful engines and structural enhancements.
Sikorsky delivered the first production UH-60M in December 2007, preceded by 31 low rate initial production aircraft from 2005-2007. The first production HH-60M MEDEVAC, outfitted with a dedicated clinical cabin, followed in August 2008. The aircraft have accumulated a combined 200,000 flight hours to date.
Colonel Thomas Todd, the US Army's utility helicopters project manager, said: 'The UH-60M and HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters are performing extremely well in theatre, and I receive positive comments from our combat commanders frequently. The platform receives very high marks for the situational awareness the system provides the crew. These comments are also common from the other services, agencies and countries that have purchased H-60M aircraft.
'Accordingly, this 500th roll out of the H-60M underscores that the US Army's Utility Helicopters Project Office and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation continue to provide our soldiers with quality equipment in a timely and cost efficient manner.'
The 500 H-60M aircraft are part of a planned production run of 1,375 'M' models (956 UH-60M and 419 HH-60M aircraft) the army plans to order through until 2026. By then, the army's total Black Hawk fleet, including upgraded UH-60A and UH-60L aircraft, is expected to reach more than 2,100 aircraft.
The army purchased the majority of the 500 H-60M helicopters as part of a five-year agreement that ended this month. Sikorsky will continue to build Mike models as part of a new five-year contract (multi-year 8) valued at $8.5 billion, which Sikorsky and the US Army and Navy signed on July 6, 2012. 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.
To meet Multi-Year 8 requirements, Sikorsky will deliver a baseline quantity of 234 UH-60M and 120 HH-60M BLACK HAWK aircraft for US Army use and additional aircraft for FMS sales. The contract also includes 193 MH-60 Seahawk helicopters for the US Navy, as well as MH-60R Seahawk aircraft for the FMS programme.
As well as the US Army, the 'Mike' model is operated by Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
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