UH-60M Black Hawk Multi-Mission Helicopter, United States of America


UH-60M Black Hawk is a medium-lift, rotary-wing helicopter designed and manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft to meet evolving warfighting needs. It is a modernised version of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

The UH-60M has multi-mission capabilities and features a new airframe, advanced digital avionics and a powerful propulsion system. It can be used to perform tactical transport, utility, combat search-and-rescue, airborne assault, command-and-control, medical evacuation, aerial sustainment, search-and-rescue, disaster relief and fire-fighting. It offers improved situational awareness and greater survivability.

The US Army deployed UH-60Ms in support of combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. As of July 2012, Sikorsky had delivered 400 UH-60M utility helicopters and around 956 helicopters are scheduled to be delivered through 2026.

In April 2014, the Government of Mexico requested a possible foreign military sale of 18 UH-60Ms and associated equipment at an estimated cost of $680m.

UH-60M Black Hawk design and features

The UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter features a monolithic design and offers better handling qualities and active vibration control. It is attached with a three-point dual energy absorbing landing gear and foldable main and tail rotor blades that are protected from ballistic damage. It can execute missions during day or night in all-weather conditions.

S-70i Black Hawk helicopter is the latest in the family of Black Hawk multimission aircraft.

The helicopter features machined cabin structure, two jettisonable cockpit doors, and two sliding cargo doors with pop-out egress windows. The cabin is 3.8m long, 2.3m wide and 1.3m high, and features crashworthy seats for the pilot and co-pilot. The cabin and baggage volumes are 11.2m³ and 0.5m³ respectively. The maximum gross weight of the helicopter is 9,979kg.

Some of the major features include wire strike protection system, anti-plow keel beams, rotor de-icing provisions, active vibration control system, foldable stabilator and tail pylon.

Electrical equipments installed in the helicopter include controllable searchlight, portable maintenance light, retractable landing light and night vision goggle (NVG)-compatible formation lights.

Cockpit of the UH-60M

The UH-60M Black Hawk features a glass cockpit featuring fly-by-wire Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) and a digitised 1553 bus-based avionics suite. The cockpit is equipped with four Rockwell Collins open-architecture integrated cockpit flight and mission displays for improved situational awareness, Honeywell dual embedded global positioning system (GPS) inertial (EGI) navigation system, and two Canadian Marconi electronic flight management systems.

It also incorporates two UHF/VHF AM/FM radios, integrated stormscope lightning sensor, digital moving map, four-axis fully coupled autopilot, automatic direction finder, five digital integrated control stations (ICS), VHF omni ranging (VOR)/instrument landing system (ILS) receiver, and a blue force tracking system. A night vision imaging system is also installed to provide high resolution situational awareness.

The aircraft also features Goodrich's integrated vehicle health management system for monitoring engines, transmission and rotors of the helicopter. A cockpit voice flight data recorder and a crash-survivable memory unit are also fitted.

Propulsion and performance

The UH-60M Black Hawk is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-701D engines with cowling. Each engine generates a maximum take-off power of 2,974kW and one engine inoperative (OEI) power of 1,447kW. The propulsion system also consists of auxiliary power unit, gearbox, four wide-chord composite blades, and single point for close circuit and pressure refuelling.

The aircraft is also fitted with two crashworthy and self-sealing 360gal fuel tanks. The gravity refuel ports are installed on the left and right sides of the transition section.

The UH-60M can fly at a maximum cruise speed of 280km/h and offers a maximum range of 511km. It can operate at a hovering in ground effect (HIGE) ceiling of 3,206m and hovering out of ground effect (HOGE) ceiling of 1,831m.

UH-60M Black Hawk development, orders and deliveries

In April 2001, the US Army approved an upgrade programme for more than 1,500 Black Hawks to UH-60M configuration. Sikorsky Aircraft developed eight UH-60Ms in the integration and qualification phase of the programme. The UH-60M made its first flight at the Sikorsky Flight Development Center in Florida in September 2003.

The Pentagon's Defense Acquisition Board approved low rate initial production (LRIP) of 22 new-build UH-60M aircraft in April 2005. The first helicopter was delivered to the US Army in July 2006.

"The aircraft is also fitted with two crashworthy and self-sealing 360gal fuel tanks."

In December 2007, the US Army and the Pentagon approved full rate production of 1,227 new UH-60Ms and ordered 11 LRIP UH-60M upgrade helicopters. The US Army received a total of 200 UH-60Ms by mid-2010. Maiden flight of the UH-60M upgrade was held in August 2008.

In September 2008, the Government of Egypt requested a possible foreign military sale (FMS) of four UH-60Ms.

The Government of Mexico requested UH-60Ms through the US Government's FMS programme in July 2009. The US Army Security Assistance Command delivered three helicopters for use by the Mexican Secretariat of the Navy (SEMAR) in October 2011. The Government of Mexico's Federal Police (FP) received three helicopters from the US Department of State for law enforcement missions, in January 2011.

The Government of Sweden requested for 15 UH-60Ms through the FMS programme in September 2010. The helicopters were ordered by the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) at an estimated cost of $546m in May 2011. Deliveries began in September 2011 and were completed in September 2012. The UH-60Ms were deployed by the Swedish Armed Forces in support of combat search and rescue and medical evacuation transport missions in Afghanistan Area of Responsibility (AOR).

The Government of Iraq requested for a possible FMS of 12 helicopters in November 2009 and the Government of the United Arab Emirates requested for five UH-60M VIP helicopters in June 2011. The Government of Qatar requested for 12 UH-60M utility helicopters and associated equipment in June 2012.

The Royal Thai Army signed a letter of offer and acceptance with Sikorsky for the acquisition of two UH-60M helicopters through the FMS programme in July 2012. The Government of Austria also requested for three helicopters and associated equipment in December 2013.

The UH-60M helicopter is also in service with the Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection and the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

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The Global Military Aircraft Market 2011-2021

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