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Austria awaits US approval of three UH-60L helicopters from Jordan

Austria is awaiting US approval of the transfer of three former Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) UH-60L helicopters purchased in 2020 for EUR60 million (USD72.8 million). After they are received, the helicopters will be sent to Ace Aeronautics, which is upgrading the cockpits of Austria’s original nine Black Hawk helicopters, which are very similar to the UH-60L, bringing the fleet up to 12 aircraft.

The first upgraded Black Hawk returned to Austria in November 2020, after which it was certified. Work on the helicopter by Ace in Guntersville, Alabama, was considerably delayed, first by the US government shutdown in 2018–19 and then by the Covid-19 pandemic.

To make up for lost time, the Austrian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is now considering not having Ace outfit the second Black Hawk in Austria but rather to send the second and possibly the third helicopter to Guntersville as well. It was originally planned to outfit the second aircraft in Austria, with the remaining upgrades to have been conducted by air force maintenance units using kits.

Janes saw the first upgraded Black Hawk at Langenlebarn airbase on 17 February. The new Acehawk cockpit features Garmin G5000H wide-screen displays, two primary flight displays, and two multifunction diplays for unrestricted visual flight rules and instrument flight rules operations day and night, including in night-vision goggle mode. An ACM9454 cockpit management unit integrates AN/ARC231 military tactical and national TETRA civilian radios, as well as an identification friend-or-foe transponder. The head-up displays have been replaced by 18 Thales Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems, which have already been delivered and will ibe followed by Gentex HGU-56P helmets.

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