In 1978, Sikorsky delivered the first Black Hawk to the U.S. Army. The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk 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 Black Hawk as the winner of the program in 1976, after a fly-off competition with the Boeing Vertol YUH-61.
Named after the Native American war leader Black Hawk, 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 Black Hawk. Improved UH-60L and UH-60M utility variants have also been developed. Modified versions have also been developed for the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. In addition to U.S. Army use, the UH-60 family has been exported to several nations. Black Hawks have served in combat during conflicts in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and other areas in the Middle East.
The BLACK HAWK multirole helicopter serves with the U.S. military and the armed forces of 28 other countries worldwide as a tough, reliable utility helicopter. More than 4,000 BLACK HAWK aircraft of all types are in service worldwide today. The U.S. Army is the largest operator with 2,135 H-60 designated aircraft. The same aircraft sold internationally direct from Sikorsky acquires the S-70 designation. Over the last four decades, the Black Hawk has steadfastly flown in and out of countless combat zones and natural disaster areas to save lives and deliver critical supplies.
Sikorsky continues to build H-60M Black Hawk aircraft for the U.S. Army, which is expected to operate the platform into the 2070s. We continue to modify the Black Hawk to meet the mission requirements of its customers and have produced several successful H-60 variants:
The MH-60R Seahawk is a UH-60-based maritime variant in operation and deployed by the U.S. Navy, as well as numerous international military customers. Its primary missions are anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare, while secondary missions include search and rescue, vertical replenishment, naval surface fire support, logistics support, communications relay, personnel transport, and medical evacuation.
Additionally, the U.S. Air Force currently operates the HH-60G Pavehawk combat rescue helicopter. In February of this year, Sikorsky began the final assembly process of the first HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) to replace this long-serving variant. The “Whiskey” model is based on the proven technology of the latest Black Hawk model, the UH-60M, and is expected to take its first flight by year-end.
Sikorsky also continues to field new mission capabilities for the Black Hawk:
An aerial firefighting system, complete with belly tank, that can easily retrofit to existing S-70i fleets;
A sophisticated weapons system for the S-70i™ and S-70M models that enables pilots to engage static or moving targets with high accuracy using forward firing guns, rockets and laser-designated air-to-ground missiles.
Sikorsky also is developing an optionally piloted capability utilizing its MATRIX™ Technology with the intelligence and autonomy to carry out missions with two, one or zero crew members on board. This technology is flying on the company’s commercial S-76® helicopter, the Sikorsky Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA). Sikorsky expects first flight of the optionally piloted Black Hawk in 2018.