Medical evacuation helicopter
HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter is a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) version of the UH-60M Black Hawk multi-mission helicopter. Built by Sikorsky Aircraft for the US Army, the helicopter is designed to evacuate wounded troops from the battlefield.
Lockheed Martin acquired Sikorsky Aircraft in November 2015.
The HH-60M helicopter is integrated with a medical evacuation mission equipment package (MEP) kit. It provides aerial medical support and ambulatory patient transport services. The helicopter can be reconfigured to carry out missions including personnel transport, search and rescue, resupply, aerial reconnaissance, cargo transport, and wild fire suppression.
HH-60M Black Hawk design and features
The HH-60M MEDEVAC helicopter integrates advanced technological enhancements, such as more powerful engines and instrumentation. It is equipped with an improved rotor system incorporating wide-chord blades. It is capable of executing emergency evacuation missions under difficult weather conditions, during day and night.
The built-in medical interior is installed with an integrated electronically-controlled litter system to carry about six patients. This litter system can be modified to provide ambulatory seating. The helicopter also houses an integrated oxygen-generating system for onboard patient care.
Plastic sealed bubble windows are attached to the modern battlefield ambulance to create a sterile environment for patients. The helicopter is also fitted with an environmental control system, an integrated ECG machine, enroute medical care, suction, patient monitors, an infrared system and a built-in external electrical rescue hoist.
The HH-60M is manned by a pilot, co-pilot, crew chief and flight medic. It can accommodate up to 11 troops. The crew can easily access litters and medical systems from their positions.
Cockpit and avionics of the Black Hawk’s MEDEVAC version
The HH-60M MEDEVAC helicopter is equipped with an advanced glass cockpit, all digital avionics suite with an autopilot and a flight management system.
The cockpit incorporates four multi-function colour displays for increased situational awareness. It is also fitted with dual digital flight control computer, moving map, storm scope and radio systems, and GPS/inertial navigation system. The FLIR sensors mounted on the nose provide increased visibility for search and rescue missions.
Engine and performance of HH-60M MEDEVAC
HH-60M MEDEVAC Black Hawk helicopter is powered by FADEC-equipped T700-GE-701E engines, while the rotorcraft is equipped with an improved durability gearbox and Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS).
The helicopter can fly at an air speed of 140.7k and a range of 275.2nm. This range can be further increased by mounting an external fuel system of 400gal capacity. The empty weight of the helicopter is 14,470lb and the maximum hovering out of ground effect (HOGE) gross weight is 21,414lb.
Air Methods’ Products Division was awarded a contract by Sikorsky Aircraft to upgrade the patient litter lift system and ambulatory patient seating in July 2007.
Air Methods’ United Rotorcraft division received a $17m contract for the supply of 48 HH-60M MEDEVAC Interior Systems in October 2008. It was also awarded a $44.8m contract for the supply of Interior Systems in March 2013. Deliveries are expected to be completed by 2017.
Sikorsky Aircraft selected FLIR Systems’ Talon multi-sensor EO/IR turret for the HH-60M in June 2009. In August 2010, LaBarge was awarded a $5m contract for the production of wiring harnesses for the helicopter.
Sikorsky received a five-year contract to deliver 257 UH-60M Black Hawk and HH-60M MEDEVAC aircraft to the US Army and the US allied nations in June 2017. The contract also includes an option for a further 103 aircraft, which if exercised will bring the total value of the contract to $5.2bn.
HH-60M MEDEVAC Black Hawk orders and deliveries
The US Government approved full-rate production of 1,200 UH-60M and HH-60M helicopters in July 2007, meanwhile, the US Army intends to procure 419 HH-60Ms through 2026.
In December 2007, Sikorsky Aircraft signed a five-year, multi-service contract (Multi-Year 7) with the US Army and the US Navy for the delivery of 537 H-60 HAWK helicopters including HH-60M MEDEVAC, UH-60M BLACK HAWK, MH-60R SEAHAWK and MH-60S SEAHAWK helicopters.
The US Army awarded a contract for the delivery of 20 HH-60Ms and installation of auxiliary power unit kits in March 2008. The first production HH-60M MEDEVAC variant equipped with a dedicated clinical cabin was completed in August 2008. It was unveiled at the National Guard Association of the United States conference held in Baltimore, Maryland, in September 2008.
The US Army ordered 12 HH-60Ms in December 2008 and signed a contract option for a HH-60M helicopter in August 2009. The Vermont National Guard aviation Company C, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment fielded a total of 12 helicopters for medical evacuation missions in Iraq in November 2010.
Sikorsky Aircraft delivered a total of 100 HH-60M MEDEVAC helicopters to the US Army by July 2012. The Maine Army National Guard received three HH-60Ms by August 2012.
Under the Multi-Year 8 agreement signed in July 2012, Sikorsky Aircraft will deliver 120 HH-60Ms to the US Army.
The South Dakota Army National Guard (SDARNG) began fielding two of six HH-60M Black Hawks, as part of the US Army’s aircraft modernisation programme in October 2014. The new helicopters will replace the SDARNG’s current UH-60 A/L model Black Hawk helicopters to provide enhanced operational capabilities in state and federal operations.