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Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk

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The Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk is a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-lift utility helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft. Sikorsky submitted the S-70 design for the United States Army's Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS) competition in 1972. The Army designated the prototype as the YUH-60A and selected the Blackhawk as the winner of the program in 1976, after a fly-off competition with the Boeing Vertol YUH-61.

Named after the Indian war leader Blackhawk, the UH-60A entered service with the U.S. Army in 1979, to replace the Bell UH-1 Iroquois as the Army's tactical transport helicopter. This was followed by the fielding of electronic warfare and special operations variants of the Blackhawk. Improved UH-60L and UH-60M utility variants have also been developed. Modified versions have also been developed for the US Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. In addition to U.S. Army use, the UH-60 family has been exported to several nations. Blackhawks have served in combat during conflicts in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and other areas in the Middle East.

Variants[edit]

Utility Versions[edit]

  • YUH-60A: Initial test and evaluation version for US Army. First flight on October 17th, 1974; three built.
  • UH-60A Blackhawk: Original U.S. Army version, carrying a crew of four and up to 11 equipped troops. Equipped with T700-GE-700 engines. Produced 1977–1989. U.S. Army is equipping UH-60As with more powerful T700-GE-701D engines and also upgrading A-models to UH-60L standard.
  • UH-60C Blackhawk: Modified version for Command and control (C2) missions.
  • CH-60E Blackhawk: Proposed troop transport variant for the U.S. Marine Corps.
  • UH-60L Blackhawk: UH-60A with upgraded T700-GE-701C engines, improved durability gearbox, and updated flight control system. Produced 1989–2007. UH-60Ls are also being equipped with the GE T700-GE-701D engine.
  • UH-60V Blackhawk: Upgraded version of the UH-60L with the electronic displays (glass cockpit) of the UH-60M. Upgrades performed by Northrop Grumman featuring a centralized processor with a partitioned, modular operational flight program enabling capabilities to be added as software-only modifications.
  • UH-60M Blackhawk: Improved design wide chord rotor blades, T700-GE-701D engines (max 2,000 shp or 1,500 kW each), improved durability gearbox, Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS) computer, and new glass cockpit. Production began in 2006. Planned to replace older U.S. Army UH-60s.
  • UH-60M Upgraded Blackhawk: UH-60M with fly-by-wire system and Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit suite. Flight testing began in August 2008.

Special Purpose[edit]

  • EH-60A Blackhawk: UH-60A with modified electrical system and stations for two electronic systems mission operators. All examples of type have been converted back to standard UH-60A configuration.
  • YEH-60B Blackhawk: UH-60A modified for special radar and avionics installations, prototype for stand-off target acquisition system.
  • EH-60C Blackhawk: UH-60A modified with special electronics equipment and external antenna. All examples of type have been taken back to standard UH-60A configuration.
  • EUH-60L Blackhawk: UH-60L modified with additional mission electronic equipment for Army Airborne C2.
  • EH-60L Blackhawk: EH-60A with major mission equipment upgrade.
  • UH-60Q Blackhawk: UH-60A modified for medical evacuation. The UH-60Q is named DUSTOFF for "dedicated unhesitating service to our fighting forces".
  • HH-60L Blackhawk: UH-60L extensively modified with medical mission equipment. Components include an external rescue hoist, integrated patient configuration system, environmental control system, on-board oxygen system (OBOGS), and crashworthy ambulatory seats.
  • HH-60M Blackhawk: UH-60M with medical mission equipment (medevac version) for U.S. Army.
  • HH-60U Blackhawk: USAF UH-60M version modified with an electro-optical sensor and rescue hoist. Three in use by Air Force pilots and special mission aviators since 2011. Has 85% commonality with HH-60W.
  • HH-60W Blackhawk: Modified version of the UH-60M for the U.S. Air Force as a Combat Rescue Helicopter to replace HH-60G Pave Hawks with greater fuel capacity and more internal cabin space, dubbed the "60-Whiskey". Deliveries to begin in 2019.
  • MH-60A Blackhawk: 30 UH-60As modified with additional avionics, night vision capable cockpit, FLIR, M134 door guns, internal auxiliary fuel tanks and other Special Operations mission equipment in early 1980s for U.S. Army. Equipped with T700-GE-701 engines. Variant was used by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The MH-60As were replaced by MH-60Ls beginning in the early 1990s and passed to the Air National Guard.
  • MH-60K Blackhawk: Special operations modification first ordered in 1988 for use by the U.S. Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment ("Night Stalkers"). Equipped with the in-flight refueling probe, and T700-GE-701C engines. More advanced than MH-60L, the K-model also includes an integrated avionics system (glass cockpit), AN/APQ-174B terrain-following radar, color weather map, improved weapons capability, and various defensive systems.
  • MH-60L Blackhawk: Special operations modification, used by the U.S. Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment ("Night Stalkers"), based on the UH-60L with T700-701C engines. It was developed as an interim version in the late 1980s pending fielding of the MH-60K. Equipped with many of the systems used on MH-60K, including FLIR, color weather map, auxiliary fuel system, and laser rangefinder/designator. A total of 37 MH-60Ls were built and some 10 had received an in-flight refueling probe by 2003.
  • MH-60L DAP: The Direct Action Penetrator (DAP) is a special operations modification of the baseline MH-60L, operated by the U.S. Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The DAP is configured as a gunship, with no troop-carrying capacity. The DAP is equipped with ESSS or ETS stub wings, each capable of carrying configurations of the M230 Chain Gun 30 mm automatic cannon, 19-shot Hydra 70 rocket pod, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles, GAU-19 gun pods, and M134 minigun pods, M134D miniguns are used as door guns. which are typically fixed forward for firing during strafing runs.
  • MH-60M Blackhawk: Special operations version of UH-60M for U.S. Army. Features the Rockwell Collins Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) glass cockpit and more powerful YT706-GE-700 engines. All special operations Black Hawks to be modernized to MH-60M standard by 2015.
  • MH-60 Blackhawk stealth helicopter: Specially modified MH-60s with reduced noise signature and stealth technology. The modifications are said to add several hundred pounds to the base helicopter including edge alignment panels, special coatings and anti-radar treatments for the windshields.
  • UH-60A RASCAL: NASA-modified version for the Rotorcraft-Aircrew Systems Concepts Airborne Laboratory; a US$25M program for the study of helicopter maneuverability in three programs, Superaugmented Controls for Agile Maneuvering Performance (SCAMP), Automated Nap-of-the-Earth (ANOE) and Rotorcraft Agility and Pilotage Improvement Demonstration (RAPID). The UH-60A RASCAL performed a fully autonomous flight on 5 November 2012. U.S. Army personnel were on board, but the flying was done by the helicopter. During a two-hour flight, the Black Hawk featured terrain sensing, trajectory generation, threat avoidance, and autonomous flight control. It was fitted with a 3D-LZ laser detection and ranging (LADAR) system. The autonomous flight was performed between 200 and 400 feet. Upon landing, the onboard technology was able to pinpoint a safe landing zone, hover, and safely bring itself down.
  • OPBH: On March 11th 2014, Sikorsky successfully conducted the first flight demonstration of their Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH), a milestone part of the company's Manned/Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter (MURAL) program to provide autonomous cargo delivery for the U.S. Army. The helicopter used the company's Matrix technology (software to improve features of autonomous, optionally-piloted VTOL aircraft) to perform autonomous hover and flight operations under the control of an operator using a man-portable Ground Control Station (GCS). The MURAL program is a cooperative effort between Sikorsky, the US Army Aviation Development Directorate (ADD), and the US Army Utility Helicopters Project Office (UH PO). The purpose of creating an optionally-manned Black Hawk is to make the aircraft autonomously carry out resupply missions and expeditionary operations, while increasing sorties and maintaining crew rest requirements and leaving pilots to focus more on sensitive operations.
  • VH-60D Night Hawk: VIP-configured HH-60D, used for Presidential transport by USMC. T700-GE-401C engines. Variant was later redesignated VH-60N.
  • VH-60N White Hawk: Modified UH-60A with some features from the SH-60B/F Seahawks. It is used for Presidential and VIP transport by USMC. It entered service in 1988 and nine were delivered.

Export Versions[edit]

  • UH-60J: Variant for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force produced under license by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Also known as the S-70-12.
  • UH-60JA: Variant for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. It is license produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
  • AH-60L Arpía: Export version for Colombia developed by Elbit, Sikorsky, and the Colombian Air Force. It is Counter-insurgency (COIN) attack version with improved electronics, firing system, FLIR, radar, light rockets and machine guns.
  • AH-60L Battlehawk: Export armed version unsuccessfully tendered for Australian Army project AIR87, similar to AH-60L Arpía III. Sikorsky has also offered a Battlehawk armed version for export in the form of armament kits and upgrades. Sikorsky's Armed Blackhawk demonstrator has tested a 20 mm turreted cannon, and different guided missiles. The United Arab Emirates ordered Battlehawk kits in 2011.
  • UH-60P Blackhawk: Version for the Republic of Korea Army, based on the UH-60L with some improvements. Around 150 were produced under license by Korean Air.
  • WUH-60 Blackhawk: Version of the Blackhawk for the British Army, built under license by Westland Helicopters. Also known as the S-70-19 and WS-70.

Users[edit]

  • Afghanistan
    • Afghan Air Force
  • Australia
    • Australian Army Aviation
  • Austria
    • Austrian Air Force
  • Bahrain
    • Royal Bahraini Air Force
  • Brazil
    • Brazilian Air Force
    • Brazilian Army
  • Brunei
    • Royal Brunei Air Force
  • Chile
    • Chilean Air Force
  • People's Republic of China
    • People's Liberation Army Ground Force
  • Republic of China
    • Republic of China Army
    • Republic of China Air Force
  • Colombia
    • Colombian Air Force
    • Colombian Army
  • Croatia
    • Croatian Air Force
  • Egypt
    • Egyptian Air Force
  • Indonesia
    • Indonesian Army
  • Israel
    • Israeli Air Force
  • Japan - see Mitsubishi H-60
    • Japan Air Self-Defense Force
    • Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
  • Jordan
    • Royal Jordanian Air Force
  • Republic of Korea
    • Republic of Korea Air Force
    • Republic of Korea Army
  • Malaysia
    • Royal Malaysian Air Force
  • Mexico
    • Mexican Air Force
    • Mexican Army
  • Morocco
    • Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie
  • Philippines
    • Philippine Air Force
  • Saudi Arabia
    • Royal Saudi Land Forces
    • Royal Saudi National Guard
  • Slovakia
    • Slovak Air Force
  • Sweden
    • Swedish Air Force
  • Thailand
    • Royal Thai Army
  • Tunisia
    • Tunisian Air Force
  • Turkey
    • Turkish Air Force
    • Turkish Land Forces
  • United Arab Emirates
    • United Arab Emirates Air Force
  • United Kingdom
    • British Army
  • United States
    • United States Army

See Also[edit]

Related Development[edit]

Comparable Aircraft[edit]

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