SOFEX 2016

Black Hawk remains firm favourite [SOFEX16D3]

12 May 2016

Since entering US Army service in 1979, the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk has cemented its position as the West’s primary assault transport helicopter and is now in service with 24 nations.

Sikorsky Aircraft continues to market the aircraft, both to new customers and to existing ones.

Now part of Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky (Hall 1, Stand C108) builds the Black Hawk both in the US and at the former PZL-Mielec plant in Poland. The current baseline version is the UH-60M, of which production began in 2006. This variant introduced wide-chord main rotor blades that generate an additional 470lb (214kg) of lift, an advanced cockpit with four multifunction displays, fouraxis fully coupled flight director, digital map and dual embedded GPS/INS. The ‘Mike’ Black Hawk has an integrated vehicle health management system. Power is provided by two General Electric T700-GE-701D engines.

UH-60Ms are being built to replace the older versions in US Army service, and for export. The utility transport also provides the basis for special missions variants, such as the HH-60W combat rescue helicopter selected by the US Air Force as a replacement for its ageing and less capable HH- 60G Pave Hawks.

Black Hawks have sold well in the MENA region, and Jordan itself is no stranger to the type. In 2007, Joint Special Operations Command took delivery of UH‑60Ls for Special Forces support, and the type has also been employed for VIP transportation with the Royal Flight, including a recently delivered UH-60M that was procured through US Foreign Military Sales channels.

More recently, the Royal Jordanian Air Force has taken delivery of eight former US Army UH-60As as part of a rejuvenation of the helicopter assault force. These aircraft were supplied by the US as part of the effort to enhance Jordanian rapid deployment capability, in line with the creation of the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) to bolster border security and to provide a means of rapidly countering any incursions. The first three were airlifted to Jordan in November 2015, and all were in country by March.

The helicopters played a prominent role in the QRF demonstration that was presented to His Majesty King Abdullah during the SOFEX opening ceremony on Tuesday.

Further Black Hawks are expected to arrive in the first quarter of next year. Another eight aircraft are to be acquired, but they will be new-build UH- 60M machines. They are part of a government-to-government deal, with Sikorsky being contracted to the US Army to build them.

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