Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company, delivered the 1,000th H-60M Black Hawk helicopter to the U.S. Army in an Oct. 13 ceremony held in Stratford, Conn.
The event was attended by distinguished guests from the U.S. Army, government officials, the Defense Contracting Management Agency, industry suppliers, and Lockheed Martin employees.
Speakers included Brig. Gen. Robert L. Marion, Program Executive Officer, U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Aviation; Col. William “Billy” Jackson, Project Manager, Utility Helicopters, U.S. Army Program Executive Office; Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy; U.S. Senators for Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy; U.S. Representative for Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District, Rosa DeLauro; and Sikorsky President Dan Schultz.
“The UH-60 is often referred to as the workhorse of Army Aviation and as such your efforts here, past, present, and future are critical to the continued defense of our nation,” Marion said during the ceremony. “The rollout of the 1000th UH-60M Black Hawk marks an important outcome of our Aviation Modernization Plan, and these aircraft will transform our aviation fleet to a more flexible, capable, and ready team.”
Sikorsky delivered the first UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter in 2007 and the first HH-60M MEDEVAC helicopter in 2008. Today’s ceremony marked the delivery of the 792nd UH-60M and the 208th HH-60M helicopters. The ‘Mike’ model helicopters represent the Army’s third standard baseline H-60 Black Hawk aircraft version in the 38-year production history of the program. The newest models feature more powerful engines than older variants, a new airframe, avionics and propulsion system, improved rotor blades, a digital cockpit, and an autopilot among other modern enhancements.
In his remarks, Jackson said, “Providing the Wings of the Eagle is a solemn responsibility. I am proud to report that this program has delivered many important attributes to our warfighters including more power, more durability and vastly increased situational awareness. We have fielded a fully integrated system…a machine that allows our warfighters to focus on the battlefield. These attributes improve not only our performance, but also our combat readiness.”
Currently, there are 2,135 H-60 Black Hawk helicopters in service, making the Army’s Black Hawk helicopter fleet the largest flying fleet of all the services. The Army fleet of Black Hawk helicopters of all models has flown nearly nine million flight hours, many of them in combat.
The U.S. Air Force, National Guard, Army Reserve and 10 militaries throughout the world fly H-60M model aircraft. U.S. Government agencies including the Department of State, Customs & Border Protection and the Federal Bureau of Investigation also are operators.
“I know that I speak for all of our employees, many of us military service veterans, when I describe the tremendous pride we feel today,” said Dan Schultz, president of Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company. “We are honored to provide our country’s men and women in uniform with a proven multi-role aircraft they can count on to perform their missions every day.”
The UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter has been purchased by several international militaries, through the U.S. Government Foreign Military Sales program. The U.S. Army has active H-60M Black Hawk programs with Bahrain, Jordan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates.
Sikorsky delivered the UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters from 1978 until 1989, and delivered the UH-60L from 1989 until 2008. The Army plans to keep the Black Hawk fleet flying through 2070.