Sweden orders Black Hawks
Sweden is to purchase 15 UH-60M Black Hawks through the US Government's Foreign Military Sales programme, in the first sale of the UH-60M to a European nation.
Sikorsky said the Swedish Armed Forces will use the aircraft for medical evacuation, utility, and search and rescue missions. The company is set to deliver six of the aircraft this year, and the remaining nine in 2012 under an accelerated production schedule.
Mick Maurer, president of Sikorsky Military Systems said: 'We're honoured to support the Swedish Armed Forces, and we congratulate them for being the first European Union nation to choose this highly evolved UH-60M aircraft, which is part of a lineage of aircraft that have proven themselves countless times under the most extreme conditions all over the world.'
Rotorhub revealed Swedish interest in the Black Hawk in 2010 during the Farnborough Airshow when the chief of the Royal Swedish Air Force made it known that the air force was looking for a medium lift helicopter that could be in service by 2013.
Major General Anders Sliwer told journalists at the time that there had been a great deal of pressure on the government after Swedish casualties in Afghanistan in 2009 had to be casevac'ed by US helicopters.
It's likely that the new helicopters would be deployed with Swedish forces in the early 2013.
Another catalyst for the purchase is the on-going delays in the country's purchase of the NH90, of which the country has 18 on order. Thirteen will be used for troop transport; the other five are naval variants and will be used for anti-submarine warfare.
The NH90 programme is making some headway. On 11 May, the first NH90, designated locally as Hkp 14 was officially handed over to the Swedish Armed Forces by the Swedish procurement agency, the FMV. The Hkp 14s are being delivered in a basic configuration that allows the armed forces to begin training on the type.
The final NH90 is set to be delivered in 2014.
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