The Utility Helicopters Project Office recently completed a successful Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) of the UH-60V Blackhawk Helicopter at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. The UH-60V is an upgraded variant of the legacy UH-60L with a digital glass cockpit and integrated avionics suite. The purpose of the test and evaluation is to demonstrate and assess the degree to which the aircraft meets its designated requirements and set the conditions for the full rate production point. The completion of IOT&E marks a significant milestone for the UH-60V program on the pathway to full-rate production.
“This successful IOT&E allows the Army to make an informed decision on transitioning the UH-60V to full-rate production. The UH-60V recapitalized the combat proven UH-60L, applying the latest information and technology enhancements making it “UH-60M Like” to support the warfighter,” said UH-60V Product Manager Lt. Col. Howard Swanson.
The IOT&E began July 5 and during three weeks of preliminary testing, pilots flew more than 120 hours with five UH-60V helicopters under realistic battlefield conditions. Record testing took place July 28 – Aug. 5 and concluded with the aircraft accumulating over 200 flight hours, successfully demonstrating the model’s capabilities. The completion of IOT&E marks a significant milestone for the UH-60V program on the pathway to full rate production. The Operational Test Command Operational Test Report is expected to be released in 30 days and the Army Test and Evaluation Command Operational Evaluation Report is expected to be released in Dec 2022.
The UH-60V Black Hawk is a retrofit with the Northrop Grumman’s ‘digital cockpit’ suite and OpenLift architecture, has received official certification to fly in all conditions. The UH-60V program is designed to retrofit the L-model Black Hawks with capability comparable to the UH-60M, with the OpenLift-powered architecture enabling more rapid integration of new avionics capabilities. The Army previously noted the 1st Battalion of the 106th Aviation Regiment will be the first tactical unit to receive UH-60Vs, with fielding set to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2022. The UH-60V program is expected to include converting 760 total UH-60L model aircraft to new, modernized configuration.