The long quest by the U.S. Air Force to acquire a new combat rescue helicopter (CRH) appears to have concluded, with Sikorsky’s announcement that it has received an engineering and development (EMD) contract worth an estimated $1.28 billion for a derivative of the UH-60M Black Hawk.
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk
Last Friday Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced that his government had signed a $3.5 billion contract with Sikorsky for the co-production of 109 T-70 utility transport helicopters, based on the Sikorsky S-70i International Black Hawk. The announcement comes nearly three years after Turkey had declared the T-70 as its preferred choice for the TUHP (Turkey utility helicopter program) requirement, and some seven months after it had been revealed that there were to be delays in finally putting pen to paper.
It takes the right tooling to make a helicopter come together, and sometimes it takes teamwork to create that tooling. Professional Aviation Associates (Booth No. 4006), a subsidiary of Greenwich AeroGroup, worked in tandem with Aerosync Engineering & Consulting recently to deliver two UH60 Black Hawk fuselage and tailcone alignment fixtures to the Colombian air force.
The Army also plans to upgrade analog UH-60L models to the same capability of M models rather than purchase all M models. Last summer, it formed the new UH-60L Digital Product Directorate to lead the effort.
It was six years ago that Sabreliner decided to enter the helicopter modification business. The company has since found a growing niche market in UH-60M Black Hawk modification and cabin refurbishment, transforming these rough-and-tumble combat aircraft into luxurious executive transport for heads-of-state around the world.
The St. Louis-based company most recently delivered executive variants of the Black Hawk to the Royal Jordanian Air Force, bringing the total number of highly modified UH-60Ms to 11.
The Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk conjures visions of combat troops, pilots wearing night-vision goggles and bare-bones, utility cabins. Rarely does one find executives flying in a Blackhawk.
But earlier this year Sabreliner, with locations in Perryville, Ste. Genevieve and St. Mary, Missouri, delivered two highly-modified UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters to the Royal Jordanian Air Force. The helicopters feature Sabreliner-developed executive entry systems, VIP seating and cabin entertainment systems.
The Colombian Army formally inducted into its fleet five new Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters. Colombia is the first South American country to acquire the S-70i variant, which is assembled at Sikorsky’s PZL Mielec facility in Poland.
Sikorsky said the helicopters were custom-equipped in the U.S. for the special forces of the Colombian army’s air assault division. They join a national fleet of 96 UH-60L Black Hawks operated by the Colombian National Police, army and air force. Colombia operates the world’s fourth-largest Black Hawk fleet.