The US Army is set to take delivery of the final two UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters under contract from Sikorsky Aircraft by the end of this month, for transfer to the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV).
Delivery of the three aircraft will allow the Swedish Armed Forces to deploy three aircraft to Afghanistan in April 2013, in support of the country’s commitment to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations.
Sikorsky Army UH-60 aircraft vice president John Palumbo said: "We have worked closely with the US Army to meet the accelerated delivery requirements of the FMV about 18 months ahead of a typical production schedule."
A total of 15 UH-60M helicopters were ordered by the FMV through the US Government’s foreign military sales (FMS) programme route in May 2011 to carry out medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), utility, and search and rescue missions in Afghanistan.
Delivery of the first helicopter to the army took place in September 2011, followed by an additional seven in December that year.
The helicopters are integrated with an advanced flight control system to lower pilot workload, an advanced communications suite, and full night-vision capabilities.
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Further modification by the US Army include addition of a range of equipment, such as an exterior rescue hoist, gunner seats, armoured floor, stackable litters, a cockpit heater and environmental control system.
Aircrew and engineers from Sweden’s military have already completed training at the US Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, Alaska, and are undergoing follow-on unit training at the Swedish Air Force base in Linkoping, which currently hosts six modified UH-60M helicopters.
In collaboration with Saab, Sikorsky also delivers engineer training and long-term logistics support services for the helicopter fleet.
The UH-60M is an upgraded variant of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, featuring improved rotor blades and advanced flight control and aircraft navigation control systems.