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Sikorsky eyes Eastern Europe for Black Hawk sales amid Russia's war in Ukraine

Sikorsky sees foreign military sales helping continue Black Hawk production as Eastern Europe rethinks its Soviet helicopter fleets. (Lockheed Martin)

Sikorsky expects to have the 5,000th UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter on its production line in the fourth quarter of 2022, and the company said that foreign military sales (FMS) could help keep the line running while the US Army turns its attention to the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programme.

“The Black Hawk is still very ubiquitous and in demand around the world. Australia recently came out and said they were going to buy Black Hawk helicopters,” Paul Lemmo, president of Sikorsky, told reporters on 4 May.

Australia formally reached out to Washington in December 2021 for advice on buying up to 40 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawks to replace its NHIndustries/Airbus MRH-90 Taipan Multirole helicopters.

Becaue of the war in Ukraine, the company foresees Eastern Europe as a potential FMS market.

“It'll be interesting to see Eastern Europe, given many of them fly Russian helicopters,” Lemmo said. “They are probably not going to get parts for those. Are they going to look to the West as those fleets get depleted? We certainly would like to offer the Black Hawk,” he added.

Meanwhile, the US Army is set to make a decision on its FLRAA programme at the end of the second quarter of 2022. Even if Sikorsky's Defiant X wins the contract over the Bell V-280 Valor, there will be a gap between the end of the Black Hawk line and the start of the Defiant X line, as the US Army is signing its last multi-year contract for Black Hawks in 2022, which means production would end in 2027.

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