The UH 60 Black Hawk is a utility tactical transport helicopter that replaces the UH-1 “Huey”. On the modern battlefield, it provides the commander the agility to get to the fight quicker and to mass effects throughout the battlespace across the full spectrum of conflict. An entire 11-person, fully-equipped infantry squad can be lifted in a single Black Hawk, transported faster than in predecessor systems, in most weather conditions. The Black Hawk can reposition a 105 mm Howitzer, its crew of six, and lift up to 30 rounds of ammunition in a single lift. The aircraft’s critical components and systems are armored or redundant, and its airframe is designed to progressively crush on impact to protect the crew and passengers.
In the late 1960s, the United States Army began forming requirements for a helicopter to replace the UH-1 Iroquois, and designated the program as the Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS). The Army also initiated the development of a new, common turbine engine for its helicopters that would become the General Electric T700. Based on experience in Vietnam, the Army required significant performance, survivability and reliability improvements from both UTTAS and the new powerplant. The Army released its UTTAS request for proposals (RFP) in January 1972. The RFP also included air transport requirements. Transport aboard the C-130 limited the UTTAS cabin height and length.
Four prototypes were constructed, with the first YUH-60A flying in October 1974. Prior to delivery of the prototypes to the US Army, a preliminary evaluation was conducted in November 1975 to ensure the aircraft could be operated safely during all testing. Three of the prototypes were delivered to the Army in March 1976, for evaluation against the rival Boeing-Vertol design, the YUH-61A, and one was kept by Sikorsky for internal research. The Army selected the UH-60 for production in December 1976. Deliveries of the UH-60A to the Army began in October 1978 and the helicopter entered service in June 1979.
[ad#Google Adsense 300×250]
Operational History of the UH-60 Black Hawk
U.S. Army MH-60L during the Battle of Mogadishu.
The UH-60 entered service with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division in June 1979. The U.S. military first utilized the UH-60 in combat during the invasion of Grenada in 1983, and again in the invasion of Panama in 1989. During the Gulf War in 1991, the UH-60 participated in the largest air assault mission in U.S. Army history with over 300 helicopters involved. In 1993, Black Hawks featured prominently in the assault on Mogadishu in Somalia. Black Hawks also saw action in the Balkans and Haiti in the 1990s. UH-60s continue to serve in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) received 10 surplus UH-60A Black Hawks from the United States in August 1994. Nicknamed Yanshuf, the UH-60A began replacing Bell 212 utility helicopters of the Israeli Defense Forces. The IAF first used the UH-60s in combat in April 1996, during operation “Grapes of Wrath” against the Hizbullah in southern Lebanon.
In March 2000, three IAF UH-60s were used to ferry Pope John Paul II during his visit to Israel, with one helicopter carrying the Pope, another his medical team and a third available on constant standby. The IAF had 49 UH-60s in operation as of 2008.
Republic of China (Taiwan)
Taiwan has operating S-70C-1/1A since ROC Air Force received ten S-70C-1A and four S-70C-1 Bluehawk helicopters in June 1986 to use as Search And Rescue helicopters. Further 4 S-70C-6 were receive April 1998. ROC Navy received first of 10 S-70C(M)-1 in July 1990. 11 S-70C(M)-2 were received beginning April 2000. In January 2010, the US announced a Foreign Military Sale of 60 UH-60Ms to Taiwan for ROC Army, with related items for 3.1 billion USD