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US Army to reprioritise UH-60M procurement to assist Australia

The Australian government is seeking the expedited delivery of its ordered Sikorsky UH-60Ms to “minimise capability gaps”, according to Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The United States will accelerate the delivery of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks to Australia by reprioritising the contracting timelines for the US Army's Black Hawk procurement.

Australia signed a AUD2.79 billion (USD1.83 billion) Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract in January to acquire 40 Black Hawks to replace its NHIndustries MRH90 ‘Taipan' fleet.

Lieutenant Colonel Martin Meiners of the US Department of Defense (DoD) told Janes that the “US Army determined it could accelerate three aircraft in 2024 by reprioritising the contracting timelines for US Army Black Hawk procurement, and the acceleration will not have an impact on US Army readiness”.

“Australia received three aircraft in July. Australia was originally scheduled to receive six aircraft in 2024 and will now receive nine aircraft under the accelerated timeline for a total of 12 delivered by the end of 2024,” Lt Col Meiners added. “The delivery of the remaining 28 aircraft will be determined by upcoming bilateral program[me] management reviews.”

The US Army's Black Hawk procurement comprises a USD2.27 billion contract awarded to Sikorsky in June 2022 to supply 120 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters plus support. The contract also includes an option for 135 additional helicopters, according to information published by the US DoD. According to the US Army, the additional 135 aircraft “will be available to [the] army, other government agenc[ies], and Foreign Military Sales customers”. The US Army added that the total contract value could potentially reach USD4.4 billion.

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