Army places $241.7 million order with Sikorsky to build 22 new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 23 March 2015. U.S. Army aviation experts are ordering 22 late-model UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters for missions like armed reconnaissance and troop transport, medical evacuations, and search and rescue.

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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 23 March 2015. U.S. Army aviation experts are ordering 22 late-model UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters for missions like armed reconnaissance and troop transport, medical evacuations, and search and rescue.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., announced a $241.7 million order to Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, Conn., to provide the Army with the 22 UH-60M military helicopters, which are intended to support contingency operations.

The twin-engine UH-60M Black Hawk can serve dependably in the most extreme conditions on Earth, Sikorsky officials say. The newest model of the Black Hawk helicopter integrates the Army's Future Combat Systems and automated aircraft health monitoring.

The UH-60M is designed to replace the older UH-60A BLACK HAWK and is the centerpiece of the Army's long-term effort to modernize the service's medium-lift helicopter fleet. Sikorsky Aircraft has manufactured the Army BLACK HAWK since 1978.

Related: 11 presumed dead after Black Hawk helicopter crashes during military training exercises

Monday's order is an option modification to a July 2012 $2.8 billion Army contract for Sikorsky to provide as many as 916 UH-60 and MH-60 helicopters for the U.S. Army, Navy, and foreign military sales.

Compared to earlier models of the Black Hawk, the UH-60M incorporates upgraded T700-GE-701D engines, improved rotor blades, and state of the art electronic instrumentation, flight controls and aircraft navigation control.

The UH-60M provides additional payload and range, advanced digital avionics, better handling qualities and situational awareness, active vibration control, improved survivability, and improved producibility. The UH-60M can fly as fast as 151 knots at altitudes to 15,180 feet to distances as far as 276 nautical miles between refuelings.

The UH-60M's new composite spar wide-chord blade provides 500 pounds more lift than the UH-60L blade. The General Electric T700-GE- 701D engine will add more horsepower and allow additional lift during external sling load operations.

Related: Sikorsky Aerospace Services to upgrade Royal Saudi Land Forces Black Hawk helicopters with modern avionics

The UH-60M cockpit includes multi-function displays; flight management systems; modern flight control computers with fully coupled autopilot; an integrated vehicle health management system with flight data and cockpit voice recorder; inertial navigation systems with embedded global positioning systems; improved data modem; and improved heads-up displays. The narrower cockpit instrument panel will also significantly improve chin window visibility.

Sikorsky and the Army have had the UH-60M in full-rate production since late 2007, and by early 2009 the company had delivered it first 100 UH-60M rotorcraft to the Army. Last November the Army ordered 102 versions of H-60 helicopters worth $1.2 billion.

On this order, Sikorsky will do the work in Stratford, Conn., and should be finished by the end of 2016. For more information contact Sikorsky online at www.sikorsky.com, or the Army Contracting Command-Redstone at www.acc.army.mil/contractingcenters/acc-rsa.

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