Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk: Specs, Range, Speed, Length, and Details. The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk is a four-bladed, single-rotor, medium-lift, utility helicopter. The latest configuration, the UH-60M, is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-701D turboshaft engines with 1,994 shp each. The older UH-60L is powered by the less powerful 1,890 shp T700-GE-701C.
The UH-60 Black Hawk is a medium weight transport helicopter, that is built since the year 1978 in many different variants, mainly for military use. The Black Hawk was developed by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk: Development
At the beginning of the year 1970, the United States Army was searching for a replacement for the Bell IH-1 Iroquois Multirole helicopter; despite that it proved success during the Vietnam War, it had disadvantages, like too low range and payload.
Because of that, the US Army initiated a competition for a new medium weight tactical transport helicopter. The competition was won by the YUH-60 by Sikorsky on 23rd December 1976, which prevailed against the YUH-61 by Boeing. The first flight of the prototype (three were made), took place on 17th October 1974, it was flown by James Wright and John Dixson. The helicopter was modified and named UH-60A Black Hawk, before it could enter production (because of problematic vibrations on the main rotor). The US Navy ordered the SH-60B at the beginning of 1978, to be their new naval transport helicopter. The first definitive UH-60A was first flown on 17th October 1978 and was delivered in June 1979 to the 101st Airborne Division. From 1978 to 1989, 980 of these helicopters were delivered to the US Army, until they were replaced by the UH-60L successor variant of the Black Hawk.
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk: Historical Data
It entered service with the U.S. Army in 1979 and was first used in combat during the Invasion of Grenada in 1983.
In 1989, UH-60 Black Hawks were used in the Invasion of Panama.
In 1991, during the Gulf War, the UH-60 participated in the largest air assault mission in U.S. Army history with over 300 helicopters involved in the assault.
In 1993, Black Hawks were used prominently in the Assault on Mogadishu.
In 2003, the U.S. Army used UH-60s in coordination with other helicopters to conduct air assault and support missions during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
The Black Hawk is designed to carry a crew of four and a combat equipped squad of 11 or an equal cargo load. It is also capable of carrying external loads of up to 9,000 lbs. The UH-60 can be fitted with stub wings to carry additional fuel tanks or weapons.
The UH-60M has four wide-chord composite rotor blades, foldable main and tail rotor blades, foldable tail pylon and stabilator dual redundant and isolated flight controls, and dual crashworthy and self-sealing fuel tanks. The aircraft can tolerate small arms fire and most high-explosive, medium-caliber (23mm) ammunition. The Black Hawk has two sliding cargo doors with pop-out egress windows, two jettisonable cockpit doors, and a three point dual OLEO landing gear with ‘kneeling’ capability. The fly-by-wire digital glass cockpit comes with multi-functional displays from Rockwell Collins; a four-axis fully coupled flight director (autopilot); a H-764G dual embedded GPS inertial navigation (aka dual EGI) system from Honeywell; AN/AMS -2 integrated stormscope; LN-200 inertial measurement unit from Northrop Grumman; AN/ARC -231 Airborne Communication System from Raytheon including two UHF/VHF AM/FM radios; five digital ICS stations; automatic direction finder; VOR/ILS, digital map; and a Goodrich Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IHVMS). The UH-60M is equipped with the AN/AVS -7 ANVIS/HUD (Aviator’s Night Vision System/Head-Up Display) system from Elbit as well as a Goodrich AN/AVR -2 B(V) Laser Warning System (LWS).
The UH-60 Black Hawk can perform a wide array of missions, including the tactical transport of troops, electronic warfare, and aeromedical evacuation. For example, it can reposition a 105mm Howitzer, its crew of six, and lift up to 30 rounds of 105mm ammunition in a single lift.
The Black Hawk made its first flight in October 1974 (YUH-60A) and has been in service with the U.S. Army since June 1979 (UH-60A). The UH-60 was designed to replace the UH-1 as the Army’s primary tactical transport helicopter. The UH-60A was produced from 1978 to 1988. In 1989, production of the UH-60L with improved engines and drive train began. According to Sikorsky, approximately 1,500 A and L models were delivered to the U.S. Army + 600 aircraft to international customers. Variants of the Black Hawk have been sold to 25 international customers, including Brazil, Columbia, Israel, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.
The need for an all-new UH-60M Black Hawk emerged in the late 1990s with the requirement to upgrade older, analog UH-60A and UH-60L Black Hawks with an integrated digital glass cockpit, dual digital flight controls, wide-chord rotor blades, more powerful engines + various structural enhancements. The UH-60M provides significant improvements to aircraft control, survivability, lift, range, navigation and situational awareness, engine durability, and maintenance costs. Sikorsky delivered the first full rate production UH-60M in December 2007 – preceded by 31 low rate initial production (LRIP) aircraft delivered from 2005-2007. The first U.S. Army HH-60M MEDEVAC helicopter (outfitted with a dedicated clinical cabin) was delivered in August 2008.
In July 2012, Sikorsky announced the delivery of the 500th H-60M Series Black Hawk helicopter.
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk: UH-60V
The UH-60V is a digital cockpit upgrade program for the Army’s UH-60L fleet. The upgrade provides an integrated digital map, integrated performance planning, common functionality and commonality of training with UH-60M. Upgraded UH-60L helicopters become UH-60 “V” models.
Armament/Weapons: The UH-60 Black Hawk is equipped with two 7.62 mm machine guns and can carry AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and 2.75 inch Hydra 70 rockets.
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk: UH-60 Production Forecast
A 15-year UH-60 production forecast is available through Forecast International’s Platinum Forecast System, which includes a breakout of total market unit and value statistics by manufacturer and end-user. This real-time service also includes information on all prime and subcontractors, contract awards, worldwide inventories, a complete program history, and a rationale detailing the outlook of the program. A 10-year UH-60 production forecast is also available in report format through Forecast International’s Rotorcraft Forecast service.
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk: Mission/Role
The Black Hawk provides a highly maneuverable, air transportable, troop carrying helicopter for all intensities of conflict, without regard to geographical location orenvironmental conditions. It moves troops, equipment and supplies into combat and performs aeromedical evacuation and multiple functions in support of the U.S. Army’s air mobility doctrine for employment of ground forces.