Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., is planning this month to deliver the final two of 15 UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopters to the U.S. Army for further transfer to the Swedish Defence Material Administration.
All 15 aircraft will have been delivered in just 16 months, a record acquisition pace for a squadron-sized fleet of Black Hawk helicopters procured via the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program.
The accelerated deliveries are arriving in time for the Swedish Armed Forces to deploy three aircraft to Afghanistan in 2013 in support of Sweden’s commitment to the International Security Assistance Force.
“We have worked closely with the U.S. Army to meet the accelerated delivery requirements of the FMV about 18 months ahead of a typical production schedule,” said John Palumbo, Sikorsky vice president for Army UH-60 aircraft. “We’re very satisfied with the accomplishment.”
Sikorsky received the 15 helicopter production order in May 2011, delivering the first aircraft to the U.S. Army in September, and seven more by December 2011.
Patrik Dovskog, Head of Helicopter Systems for the FMV, said during a delivery ceremony in late 2011 that the government-to-government procurement route helped to ensure fast aircraft deliveries and associated training for the armed forces, along with full logistical support from the U.S. Army and Sikorsky.
Once in Afghanistan, Sweden will operate the UH-60M aircraft for medical evacuation, utility, and search and rescue missions.
Sikorsky is delivering Sweden’s aircraft to the U.S. Army equipped with an advanced flight control system to reduce pilot workload, full night vision device capability for night operations, and a state-of-the-art communications suite.
The U.S. Army is further modifying each aircraft with a variety of equipment, including an exterior rescue hoist, gunner seats, armored floor, stackable litters, a cockpit heater and environmental control system. Six modified UH-60M aircraft are currently at the Swedish Air Force base in Linkoping.
Swedish aircrew and maintainers have received training at the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, Ala., and are receiving follow on unit training in Sweden. Sikorsky Aerospace Services and Swedish defense and security company Saab will provide maintainer training and long-term logistics support for the fleet.
Sweden is the first European country to acquire the U.S. Army’s UH-60M Black Hawk aircraft. Introduced into service with the U.S. Army in 2007, the ‘M’ model is the latest variant of the world’s most successful medium-lift military utility helicopter.