Sikorsky Aircraft has been awarded a contract for additional S-70i Black Hawk multi-mission helicopters for the Colombian Army.
Covering delivery of two helicopters, in addition to ground support equipment, spares and technical training, the contract was revealed at the recent 2013 LAAD Defence & Security International Exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The new helicopters are expected to boost combat capabilities along with the five existing S-70i that were inducted into operational service of the Colombian Army Air Assault Division's Special Forces at a military base in Tolemaida, Colombia, in January.
Colombia is the first South American buyer of the S-70i Black Hawk helicopter and personnel will also receive aircraft familiarisation training.
In addition to dual GPS/INS system and digital map for accurate navigation and enhanced situational awareness, the Colombian helicopters will be custom-equipped with a rescue hoist and an integrated vehicle health management system capable of monitoring its engines, transmission and rotors.
Powered by two General Electric T700-GE-701C turboshaft engines, the S-70Ai is an export version of UH-60 Black Hawk, designed to perform troop transport, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), electronic warfare attack, assault support, as well as search-and-rescue operations.
Sold directly to international militaries and government agencies, the helicopters can be easily configured to suit specific mission requirements, including radar, ballistic protection, medical litters, extended range fuel tanks, an external rescue hoist, and cargo hook among others.
Colombia is the fourth largest Black Hawk operator globally, with a total of 96 UH-60L Aicra helicopters currently in service with the Colombian Army, Air Force and national police.
Deliveries under the contract are expected to take place by October 2013.
Image: Colombian Army's S-70i helicopters stationed in Tolemaida, Colombia. Photo: © 2012 Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.