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Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk Medium Lift Transport Helicopter (1979)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/2/2014

The Black Hawk helicopter is the workhorse of many-an-army on todays battlefield.

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The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk has become a workhorse for the United States and other military forces the world over. Its capabilities have increased her roles to include Special Operations assignments, assault, MedEvac, Command and Control and VIP transport duty on top of her inherent troop-transport capabilities. The first production Black Hawk entered service in 1979 and remains a primary fixture for many an army even today - two decades after its inception. Some 2,600 total Black Hawks have been delivered worldwide.

The Black Hawk was born out of the Sikorsky S-70 project designed to the United States Army's Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS) specification that began in the latter part of the 1960's. The specification itself originated on the data collected from wartime use of the UH-1 "Huey" Iroquois helicopters pulling multiple duties across the war zone. Review of this experience brought about a need for capable replacement system for the immediate future. This design specification also coincided with development of the new General Electric turboshaft engine series designated as the T700. US Army feelers went out in 1972 with both Sikorsky and Boeing-Vertol both answering the call. The Sikorsky design was chosen ahead of the Boeing-Vertol YUH-61A attempt and the Sikorsky YUH-60A prototype achieved first flight on November 29th, 1974. The production contract was handed to Sikorsky in late 1976 with first deliveries of the Black Hawk system beginning on an October day two years later. The Black Hawk was officially introduced into service in the middle of 1979 with the US Army 101st Airborne Division, replacing the venerable UH-1 Hueys.

Black Hawks have a distinct look about them making them highly recognizable even when compared to her contemporaries. The forward portion of the fuselage contains seating positions for the pilot and co-pilot (collectively known as the flight crew) with windowed panels above, forward-below and to the sides. Each crew position is afforded an entry-exit door. Directly behind the cockpit is the cabin that allows for seating of some 11 personnel (depending on the version) with entry/exit made by two double-windowed sliding doors. The General Electric series turboshaft engines sit atop either side of the middle-fuselage with the four-blade main rotor extending up between them. The empennage is of conventional design and layout, featuring a four-blade tail rotor positioned to the starboard side, single vertical fin structure and horizontal plane. The undercarriage is fixed and features to main landing gears forward (complete with wire cutters ahead of each component) and a single tail wheel fitted under the fuselage area between the cabin and extreme edge of the tail.

Performance from the twin turboshaft engines provide for a top approximate speed of 183 miles per hour with a "never exceed" speed of up to 222 miles per hour. Cruise speeds are typically 173 miles per hour. A combat radius of 368 miles is possible with a ferry range of 1,380 miles. The service ceiling is reported at 19,000 feet with a 700 feet-per-minute rate-of-climb. Cargo hauling capacity is 2,640lbs of freight held internally. An 8,000lb freight limit is imposed for external hauling.

As expected, the Black Hawk helicopter can accomplish just about any battlefield-related task it is assigned. This includes its standard role as a troop-carrying implement but can also be expanded to include cargo/artillery transport, offensive assault, Special Operations insertion/extraction along with Search & Rescue and MedEvac. Several Black Hawks have been modified for VIP transport roles for the US government and take on the call sign of "Marine One" when specifically transporting the President of the United States.


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Specifications for the
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk
Medium Lift Transport Helicopter


Focus Model: Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk
Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: General Electric / United Technologies - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1979
Production: 2,625


Crew: 2


Length: 50.07 ft (15.26 m)
Width: 53.67 ft (16.36 m)
Height: 12.34ft (3.76 m)
Weight (Empty): 11,517 lb (5,224 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 24,500 lb (11,113 kg)


Powerplant: 2 x General Electric T700-GE-701C turboshaft engines developing 1,800 shaft horsepower while driving a four-blade main rotor and four-blade tail rotor.


Maximum Speed: 183 mph (294kmh; 159 kts)
Maximum Range: 363 miles (584km)
Service Ceiling: 18,996 ft (5,790 m; 3.6 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,550 feet per minute (472 m/min)


Hardpoints: 4 (optional attachment)
Armament Suite:
2 x 7.62mm Machine Guns on side-cabin pintle mounts

OPTIONAL: External Stores Support System (ESSS) offering up four hardpoints.

16 x Hellfire anti-tank missiles
2 x External 230 gallon fuel tanks
2 x External 450 gallon fuel tanks
Mine Dispersal Systems
2 x GAU-19 12.7mm Gatling Guns
2 x M240H 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG)

SPECIAL OPERATIONS BLACKHAWK (MH-60L DAP):
2 x M134D Gatling Guns (fixed forward or door guns)
2.75" rocket pods
30mm chain gun


Variants:
YUH-60A - Prototype Model Designation


UH-60 - Main Model Series Designation

UH-60A - Base US Army Model Designation; fitted with General Electric T700-GE-700 engines.

UH-60A RASCAL - Rotorcraft-Aircrew Systems Concepts Airborne Laboratory for use by NASA.

UH-60C - Command and Control Variant

UH-60E - Proposed Troop Transport Variant for USMC

UH-60J (S-70-12) - Export model for Japanese Air/Maritime Self Defense Forces; produced under license by Mitsubishi.

UH-60JA - Export model for Japanese Ground Self Defense Force; produced under license by Mitsubishi.

UH-60L - Improved UH-60A featuring T700-GE-701C engines, revised gearbox and flight control system.

UH-60M - Standardized version featuring new avionics systems, improved composite main rotor with wider chord, improved gearbox, revised cockpit instrumentation with IVHMS computer and reinforced fuselage.

UH-60P - Export model for South Korea based on UH-60L.

UH-60Q "Dustoff" - MedEvac model; becoming the HH-60A.

EH-60A - ECM Jammer configuration; since brought back to UH-60A standard.

YEH-60B - Prototype Model fitted with specialized radar systems and avionics.

EH-60C - Specialized Equipment and Antenna; since reverted back to UH-60A standard.

EUH-60L - Fitted with specialized equipment for Army Airborne Command and Control.

EH-60L - Upgraded EH-60A model.

HH-60G - Combat Rescue model

HH-60L - Modified UH-60L model for MedEvac

HH-60M - UH-60M model modified for MedEvac role.

MH-60A - FLIR-equipped for special mission use; updated avionics and navigation system; air-to-air refueling capability; fitted with General Electric T700-GE-701 series engines.

MH-60K - Special Operations Black Hawk for 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment; fitted with in-flight refueling probe; terrain-following radar.

MH-60L "Direct Action Penetrator" - Special Operations Blackhawk for 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment; fitted with 30mm chain gun, 2.75" rocket pods and M134D Gatling guns (door mounted or fixed forward).

MH-60R - Converted SH-60B model

MH-60S - United States Navy development; combat SAR duty; formerly designated as CH-60; fusion of SH-60 automatic flight control system and folding airframe elements for carrier storage and the base UH-60 airframe.

HH-60 "Pave Hawk" - USAF model series designation.

SH-60 "Seahawk" - USN model series designation.

VH-60D "Nighthawk" - USMC VIP HH-60D models for use as Presidential transport; fitted with T700-GE-401C engines.

VH-60N "Whitehawk" - USMC VIP UH-60A model for use as Presidential transport; nine examples produced.

AH-60L "Arpia III" - Export model for use by Columbia; fitted with FLIR, revised electronics and radar; provision for rockets and machine guns; developed to Columbian Air Force specifications.

AH-60L "Battle Hawk" - Proposed Export Model for use by Australian Army; never produced.

S-70A - Sikorsky Military Export Model Series Designation

S-70A-1 "Desert Hawk" - Export model for Saudi Arabian Army

S-70A-L1 "Desert Hawk" - Export MedEvac model for Saudi Arabian Army

S-70-5 - Philippine Air Force Export Model

S-70A-9 - Australian Army Export Model

S-70-11 - Jordanian Air Force Export Model

S-70-12 - Japanese Air/Maritime Self Defense Forces Search and Rescue (SAR) Export Model.

S-70-14 - Brunei Export Model

S-70-16 - Developmental Test Model for Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca RTM 332 series engines.

S-70-17 - Turkish Export Model

S-70-19 (WS-70) - Westland license-production Black Hawk built in UK.

S-70-21 - Egyptian Export Model

S-70-24 - Mexican Export Model

S-70-26 - Moroccan Export Model

S-70-27 - Hong Kong Export Model

S-70A-42 - Austrian Export Model


Operators:
Argentina; Australia; Austria; Bahrain; Brazil; Brunei; Chile; China; Columbia; Egypt; Israel; Japan; Jordan; Malaysia; Mexico; Morocco; Philippines; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; South Korea; Taiwan; Thailand; Turkey; United States