Patria and United Aero Group (UAG) have agreed to work together to acquire UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters, formerly owned by the US Army, to be refurbished and upgraded for the European market.

Set to start in 2024, the modernisation programme will see the Black Hawks enhanced with greater capacity to take on a wider range of missions with increased efficiency and capabilities. The number of Black Hawk units both companies intend to procure at this stage remains undisclosed.

The programme provides end users with a cost-effective procurement solution, short delivery times and customisation to various military and law enforcement aviation, from utility operations, medevac, search and rescue and firefighting missions.

Additionally, Patria offers local maintenance and sustainment support through the Patria OPTIME modular sustainment solution.

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By GlobalData

This involves an assessment of the current state of the user’s operating environment, equipment and sustainment solution as well as the requirements set for them. After a successful feasibility study, there will be a more thorough value proposal phase.

European consumer base for the Black Hawk

Currently, there are 29 international customers that use the multi-mission UH-60M Black Hawk variant developed by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin subsidiary.

These include Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and, of course, the US.

According to GlobalData intelligence, the US Army operates 1,163 Black Hawk units, some of which were acquired as far back as 1979, a year after the platform originally entered the military rotorcraft market.

GlobalData also projects European spending on the Black Hawk will grow from $150m in 2023 to $170m (€142.42m) in 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 3.43% over the four years.

Over the period 2023–33, besides emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific region, which are witnessing increasing defence expenditure due to regional power struggles and territorial disputes, countries in Europe are also expected to increase their defence outlays after years of budget cuts and sequestration measures, presenting global military rotorcraft manufacturers with greater opportunities in the coming decade.