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Air Platforms

SNC pitches Force Hawk as USAF Huey replacement

30 October 2017
Sierra-Nevada Corporation's Force Hawk is essentially a UH-60L-standard Black Hawk that has been upgraded with a new cockpit and other systems. Source: Sierra-Nevada Corporation

Sierra-Nevada Corporation (SNC) has joined Boeing and Lockheed Martin in pitching a solution for the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) UH-1N Huey Replacement Program, the company confirmed to Jane’s on 28 October.

The Nevada-based is to pitch upgraded surplus UH-60 Black Hawks for the competition to replace the USAF’s current 62 UH-1N Huey's helicopters with up to 84 new platforms. Boeing has already revealed its MH-139 offering with Leonardo, while Lockheed Martin is pitching new-build UH-60s built by its subsidiary company Sikorsky.

According to SNC, the company has been developing the Force Hawk in the past year. Built around a Garmin G5000H avionics suit, the aircraft is essentially a UH-60L-standard aircraft that has been upgraded with a new digital ‘glass’ cockpit and other SNC-installed components. These include GE Aviation T700-GE-701D engines, new gearboxes, new main rotor and tail rotor systems, a rescue-winch, and fast-rope insertion system, as well as a FLIR Star SAFIRE 380-HDc electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret.

For the Force Hawk, SNC has partnered with Ace Aeronautics and L3 Technologies. A company representative told Jane’s that the technical design and production methodology are now complete. When asked why SNC had opted to go down the route of a modernised Black Hawk, SNC said: “A fully-modernized UH-60L Force Hawk is a better value and lower risk for the taxpayer. The aircraft's performance is better than a UH-60M model aircraft in several flight profiles. The Force Hawk will have a lower price-per-unit to purchase and the UH-60L has a less expensive life-cycle cost to maintain because it has been in the Department of Defense inventory for a long time.”

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