Latvian Air Force took delivery December 11 of the first Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopter its has ordered from the United States. Both helicopters have been delivered to Latvia in a partially disassembled form, therefore in coming days, the necessary technical work will be carried out in order to be able to perform planned test flights. The next delivery is scheduled for 2023. Latvia’s government in 2018 approved the purchase of the four UH-60M “Black Hawk” helicopters in a deal worth 175 million euros under the Foreign Military Financing Program of the U.S. These helicopters will replace the outdated Soviet Mi-17s.
These are the first of several Black Hawks that Latvia has ordered as part of a modernisation effort for its armed forces. Latvian Air Force personnel have been learning how to handle and maintain the famous choppers for some time. Latvia’s Black Hawk pilots have undergone training for two years in Spain and the U.S. in preparation for the arrival of the rotorcraft. The helicopter marking a significant upgrade to the country’s rotary-wing capabilities. The new equipment will help both in military operations and, if necessary, also in rescue works and other types of operations.
The UH-60M provide the Latvian Army with many enhancements critical to supporting its missions. Design improvements include Wide-Chord blades and the 701D engine (max 2,000 shp or 1,500 kW each) and improved durability gearbox which combine to provide better performance and lower operating costs. More survivable with an enhanced laser warning system (AVR2B), Upturned Exhaust System, and the Common Missile Warning System (CMWS). An Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IVHMS) provides monitoring and diagnostic capabilities that insures an even more reliable combat aircraft. UH-60M upgrade with fly-by-wire system and Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit suite.
The UH-60M helicopter is slated to replace older BLACK HAWK helicopters currently in the U.S. Army’s fleet and represents the Army’s third standard baseline BLACK HAWK version in the 30-year production history of the program. The newest version of the Army’s premier combat utility helicopter, the UH-60M, ensures compatibility with the U.S. Army’s Future Force. It will bring new life to the existing fleet, improve their effectiveness, reduce their vulnerability, and allow for future growth while lowering operating and support costs. A fleet of over 1,200 UH-60Ms will be equiped with the new technology needed to meet these Future Forces requirements.