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Sikorsky S-70 (Firehawk)

Special-Mission Helicopter

The Sikorsky S-70 is a specialized version of the American military UH-60L Black Hawk transport helicopter - capable of undertaking varied roles.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 1/8/2020
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Year: 2008
Status: Active, In-Service
Manufacturer(s): Sikorsky / United Rotorcraft - USA
Production: 50
Capabilities: Medical Evacuation; Search and Rescue (SAR);
Crew: 2
Length: 64.80 ft (19.75 m)
Width: 53.64 ft (16.35 m)
Height: 57.41 ft (17.5 m)
Weight (Empty): 11,795 lb (5,350 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 22,046 lb (10,000 kg)
Power: 2 x General Electric T700-701D turboshaft engines developing 1,940 horsepower and driving a four-bladed main rotor and four-bladed tail rotor.
Speed: 224 mph (360 kph; 194 kts)
Ceiling: 20,013 feet (6,100 m; 3.79 miles)
Range: 289 miles (465 km; 251 nm)
Rate-of-Climb: 2,250 ft/min (686 m/min)
Operators: Poland; United States
The S-70 is a special-mission helicopter platform developed by Sikorsky and based on the company's S-70/UH-60 "Black Hawk" twin-engine transport airframe. The latest variant being offered is based in the S-70i manufactured under license by Sikorsky subsidiary PZL Mielec of Poland while earlier marks include the S-70A and S-70C Firehawks. The Firehawk is a specialized fire-fighting derivative while the S-70i has been outfitted to cover special operations support - showcasing the type's inherent versatility.

The fire-fighting Firehawk's design includes an external rescue hoist off the starboard side of the fuselage. Internally, it seats its two pilots side-by-side at the front and a complete fire crew of twelve in the passenger section. The hold can also carry up to two medical litters and limited staff for the MEDEVAC role. The Rockwell Collins-designed cockpit supports Night-Vision (NV) equipment, a digital automatic flight control system and is of an all-modern, all-glass design. A tactical communications system provides the operating crew with a link to ground units. A searchlight is available for low-light-level and nighttime operations. Under the fuselage is housed a 1,000 gallon water tank with a built-in retractable snirkel capable of filling said tank in under a minute. The tank a development of Aero Union of Chico, California.

Externally, the Firehawk series retains much of the form-and-function of the U.S. Army's Black Hawk transport series. It sports a twin engine side-by-side layout driving a four-bladed (wide-chord) main rotor assembly over the passenger section and a four-bladed anti-torque rotor unit at the tail (facing starboard). The undercarriage is wheeled, fixed in flight and of a tail-dragger arrangement (also designed to clear the under-belly water tank). The aircraft includes the usual window fittings to provide the best situational awareness possible for pilots and crew. The pilots enter-exit by way of hinged automobile-style doors while access to the passenger section is by way of the traditional sliding doors.

Power is from 2 x General Electric T700-701D series turboshaft engines developing 1,940 horsepower each.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department of a notable operator of the Firehawk, they relying on the earlier S-70A Firehawk variant.

Program Updates

September 2018 - With ongoing fires in California, United Rotorcraft will be converting a pair of former United States Army HH-60L Black Hawk helicopters to the Firehawk role for the Ventura County Fire Department. These are set to be delivered sometime in 2019.

January 2020 - The nation of Poland has received four S-70i helicopters to cover a special forces requirement. These helicopters were ordered in 2019 and have been produced in Poland under license under the PZL brand label.


None. Firefighting equipment installed.

Variants / Models

• S-70 - Base Series Designation
• S-70A "Firehawk" - Firefighting platform based on the UH-60L Black Hawk military transport model.
• S-70C - Alternative commercial variant.
• S-70i - Modernized variant with improvements throughout; based in the S-70i International Black Hawk variant produced by Sikorsky subsidiary PZL of Poland.
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