Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky has achieved a milestone with the delivery of the 5,000th ‘Hawk’ variant helicopter to the US military.

The helicopter is a US Army UH-60M Black Hawk aircraft, which will be deployed to conduct military and civil operations worldwide.

Program Executive Office Aviation utility helicopter project manager colonel Calvin Lane said: “For more than 40 years, the Black Hawk has remarkably supported soldiers in every major contingency operation the army has executed.

“Even though the helicopter has been around longer than most of the soldiers it now supports, the army plans for it to be in front line service another 40 years and beyond. And everyone who contributes to the delivery of this aircraft in any way, contributes directly to providing combat capability that protects soldiers and helps the army accomplish its mission.”

The US Army is the largest operator of the Black Hawk, which will continue in its role as a tactical air assault and utility aircraft.

Some of the modernisation efforts undertaken by the service to increase the availability and reliability of the Black Hawk include improved turbine engines, a modular open systems approach, advanced digital vehicle management systems, and more.

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Sikorsky president Paul Lemmo said: “Sikorsky, as a company, has been forged by the Black Hawk.

“The Black Hawk and its variants deliver when reliability and performance are non-negotiable. Hawk aircraft continue to demonstrate their versatility and readiness with the latest technological advancements and ongoing US and global investment in the aircraft.”

Sikorsky manufactures the latest generation of Hawk aircraft at its facility in Stratford, Connecticut, US.

The Black Hawk is also in use with more than 35 international operators to support medium-lift requirement missions.

Last week, the Australian Government announced the purchase of 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters.