The UH-60 Black Hawk is a medium utility helicopter used for a wide variety of applications including troop transport and medical evacuations. Since its introduction in 1979, the UH-60 has distinguished itself as being a great “one size fits all” medium-lift helicopter with distribution reaching to almost every corner of the world. Sikorsky built the UH-60 Black Hawk to withstand brutal ground fire while keeping passengers and crew safe.
Black Hawks have participated on the front line of conflicts spanning from Grenada to Afghanistan. They are even used as search-and-rescue helicopters in both commercial and military settings. Conventional versions of the UH-60 Black Hawk can transport up to 11 troops or carry 2,600 lbs. of cargo internally. When equipped with a load sling, the UH-60 can lift and transport up to 9,000 lbs.
Initial requirements for the UH-60 Black Hawk aircraft included modular design for easier repairs, high life-cycle of parts for fewer replacements, troop transport, and medical evacuation. It has since gone on to serve in a number of capacities including humanitarian aid and special operations insertion and extraction. A highly modified version of the UH-60 was even used in the acclaimed raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in 2011. The surviving tail rudder of one of the MH-60s indicated specialized stealth technology was used in its construction and electronic warfare modules were added to help evade Pakistani radar contact.
Several version of the UH-60 Black Hawk are available for export from the United States. Foreign buyers are able to purchase specially designed versions for everything from commercial use to counter-insurgency (COIN) operations. Two ESSS (External Stores Support System) can be equipped with air-to-surface missiles, electronic warfare pods, or even extra fuel storage. When configured for extra fuel, the UH-60 Black Hawk can fly up to 1,381 miles before needing to refuel. Some models even have a refueling nozzle to allow in-flight refueling.
Because this medium-lift helicopter has been in service since 1979, it has undergone major upgrades beginning in 1986. The improved UH-60L includes a hover IR suppression system (HIRSS) meant to mask or reduce the amount of heat kicking out of the engines while hovering.
In December of 2007, the United States Army ordered a new low-rate initial production (LRIP) upgrade to turn UH-60Ls into UH-60Ms. In total, Sikorsky is under contract to deliver 950 UH-60M aircraft by 2025. This newest design features more efficient rotors and better infrared suppression. Infrared suppression is important for evading detection and surface-to-air missile fire.
The crew of a UH-60 generally consists of two pilots, a crew chief and a door gunner. The door gunner and crew chief may be positioned on either side of the UH-60 and may be equipped with anything ranging from an M240G to an advanced General Electric M134 7.62mm 6-barreled minigun — depending upon mission requirements. The cargo bay of UH-60 may be equipped to transport up to 11 combat troops or be reconfigured to carry advanced electronic warfare equipment or even medical litters. With a reinforced bottom to help deflect anti-aircraft fire and titanium-cored rotors to protect against flak and ground fire, the UH-60 is an ideal helicopter to move troops in a highly contested area.
Sikorsky’s UH-60A Black Hawk is powered by two T700-GE-701D producing a combine total of 3,988 shp. The newer UH-60Ls use two T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines, each producing up to 1,800 shp.
Now see more incredible images of the Black Hawk helicopter.
See UH-60 Black Hawk Specifications
|Length: 64 ft 10 in (19.76 m)
|Rotor Length: 53 ft 8 in (16.36 m)
|Height: 17 ft 0 in (5.18 m)
|Empty Weight: 13,648 lb
|Max. Takeoff Weight: 22,000 lbs (9,979 kg)
|Speed: 151 kts (174 mph, 280 km/h)
|Range: 276 nm (368 mi, 511 km), no reserve
|Service Ceiling: 6,500 ft
|Armament: Door guns, air-to-surface missiles such as the Hellfire and Stinger
|Crew: 2 pilots plus 2 crewmen
Watch This Sikorsky UH-60 In Action