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Sweden signs for additional Black Hawk helicopters

With 15 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters already in service, Sweden has now ordered another 12. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Sweden has signed for 12 new Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk medium-lift helicopters to add to the 15 it already operates.

The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (Försvarets materielverk: FMV) announced the procurement on 10 July, two months after the US government approved the deal for an estimated USD900 million.

“The acquisition of more helicopters is in line with the Supreme Commander's military advice to the government and the Defence Committee's report on strengthened defence capability for Sweden as an ally,” Michael Stolpen, head of HKP 15/16 units at FMV, said, with the agency adding that deliveries to the Swedish Armed Forces will be carried out “continuously over several years”.

Designated HKP 16 in national service, the UH-60M was initially acquired by Sweden in 2012 as a temporary measure to help fill a capability gap for operations in Afghanistan while the country waited on its 18 NHIndustries NH90 helicopters (HKP 14) to be delivered to an operational standard.

However, having suffered from poor NH90 availability and high operating costs caused largely by an extensive retrofit programme in line with the wider international programme, the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, General Micael Bydén, said on 1 November 2022 that Sweden had had enough and that it would replace the NH90s at the same time as expanding its UH-60M fleet.

Both Gen Bydén and General Tommy Peterson, deputy head of the Swedish Air Force (SwAF), alluded to problems with the NH90 being more than programmatic. Gen Bydén said the NH90 was not performing as required, while Gen Peterson told Janes

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