UH-60M BLACK HAWK #1 took to the Florida skies on September 17th,
completing a flawless first flight. The new aircraft is designed to
replace the UH-60L as the standard configuration for all new Army
BLACK HAWK production in 2007.
BLACK HAWK pilots Kevin Bredenbeck and Chris Geanacopoulos
guided the helicopter through a 75-minute flight over the Sikorsky
Flight Development Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, performing
all normal shakedown maneuvers for the new systems and
instrumentation equipment aboard the upgraded UH-60M. The aircraft
met all objectives of the aggressive flight test development
schedule, achieving forward flight out to 120 knots and
successfully executing 45-degree turns.
"This is a triumphant and historic day for both Sikorsky and the
U.S. Army," said company President Steve Finger. "Years of work
have culminated in the UH-60M, offering more power,
maneuverability, and survivability than ever before."
"On the occasion of the first flight of the U.S. Army's UH-60M
BLACK HAWK, I am proud to be a part of the very talented
government-contractor team that saw this event through from mere
concept only a few short years ago, " added LTC Keith Robinson,
U.S. Army Program Manager for the UH-60M. "The fact that this team
was able to achieve first flight two days early is a testament to
their dedication to provide the Army with the world's most advanced
utility helicopter, one that will be a significant enabler to all
services on the Future Force battlefield."
Aircraft #1, originally a UH-60A model, is the test vehicle for
airframe issues such as performance and handling. Extensive flight
testing will be required because the UH-60M incorporates new GE
T700-701D engines, wide chord rotor blades, a new stabilator system
and many other changes in various gyros and accelerometers.
Also slated for upcoming flight tests is UH-60M #2, a former
UH-60L, which will serve as the avionics test aircraft. Flight
testing will focus on the glass cockpit displays, the Embedded GPS
Inertial (EGI) navigation system and the 4-axis fully-coupled
There are presently four BLACK HAWKs in the development program-a
UH-60A, UH-60L, and a UH-60Q medevac variant as well as a new
production UH-60M. After completion of the first four aircraft,
work on the low rate initial production UH-60M aircraft will begin
in 2004 and will eventually increase to a maximum of 90 existing
aircraft inducted per year by 2012.
The U.S. Army's aviation modernization plan calls for
improvements to the UH-60 BLACK HAWK that will position it as the
service's primary utility helicopter for decades to come. The Army
could decide to upgrade up to 1,200 existing UH-60A and UH-60L
aircraft and purchase 300 new production BLACK HAWKs that together
will provide greater capabilities, a larger payload and lower
maintenance costs than current UH-60A and UH-60L models. The
overhaul is expected to span 25 years.
The ruggedness and survivability of the BLACK HAWK, combined
with its multi-mission flexibility, have made it the world's
standard for medium-lift utility helicopters. Sikorsky has
delivered more than 2,500 HAWK family helicopters since 1978 and
the aircraft have logged more than five million flying hours.
More than 2,000 H-60 BLACK HAWK and H-60 variants are flown by
all five U.S. military services. More than 600 international S-70
variants, including SEAHAWK naval derivatives, are serving 25