The Colombian Army has inducted five new Sikorsky-built S-70i Black Hawk multi-mission helicopters into operational service during a ceremony at the Army Special Operation Aviation Military base in Tolemaida, Colombia.
Produced at the company’s aircraft manufacturing facility in Mielec, Poland, the S-70i helicopters are custom-equipped to boost combat capabilities of the Colombian Army’s Air Assault Division Special Forces.
Making Colombia the first South American buyer of the S-70i Black Hawk, the new helicopters will join a fleet of 96 UH-60L aicra currently operational with the Colombian Army, Air Force and national police.
Prior to delivery, Sikorsky also provided aircraft familiarisation training to the Colombian team, in addition to graduating instructor pilots and maintainers to train other personnel in their unit at its facility in Connecticut, US.
Powered by two General Electric T700-GE-701C turboshaft engines, the S-70Ai is an export version of UH-60 Black Hawk and can be easily configured to suit specific mission requirements, including radar, ballistic protection, extended range fuel tanks, medical evacuation and external rescue hoist missions.
The Colombian S-70i features a digital cockpit, advanced avionics, as well as a dual GPS/INS system with a digital map that is capable of offering accurate navigation and improved situational awareness.
Qualified as a launch platform for the laser-guided Hellfire anti-armour missiles, the helicopter is also equipped with a voice and data communications suite, an identification friend or foe (IFF) transponder, secure voice communications, satellite communications and an intercom system.
More than 3,000 Black Hawks are currently flown for troop transport and air assault, cargo lift, search-and-rescue, and VIP transport missions by 30 militaries worldwide.
Image: The Colombian Army’s S-70i helicopters stationed in Tolemaida, Colombia. Photo: © 2012 Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.