Tag Archives: Black Hawk

First Turkish S-70i Black Hawk seen in Poland

Just two weeks after the Turkish Government announced the start of the Turkish Utility Helicopter Program (TUHP) to build a fleet of multi-role T70 utility helicopters based on the S-70i Black Hawk, Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky has accepted the program’s prototype aircraft produced by its Polish subsidiary, PZL Mielec.

Sikorsky accepted the TUHP prototype aircraft from PZL Mielec during a ceremony on 22 June. The chopper is the 37th S-70i helicopter built in Poland. Among the modifications that PZL Mielec added to the aircraft are a rescue hoist, internal auxiliary fuel tank, cargo hook, Integrated Vehicle Health Management System, a blade de-icing system, and a rotor brake.

Early next year, Sikorsky will fly the prototype to Ankara where it will become the engineering development test bed for a new avionics suite being co-developed by Sikorsky and Turkish defense electronics company Aselsan. The two companies will use the helicopter to integrate, flight-test, and qualify the avionics suite, which is designed to the preferences of the T70 user community.

Contractual agreements approved by the U.S. and Turkish governments license TAI to build and deliver a total of 300 T70 helicopters (109 baseline + 191 options) to six Turkish agencies: the Land Forces, Air Force, Gendarme, Special Forces, National Police, and the Directorate General of Forestry. The first Turkish-built T70 aircraft will be certified and qualified for delivery to the Turkish Government in 2021.

Over the next two years, PZL will manufacture the first five cabin structures that TAI will assemble onto the first five T70 aircraft. PZL personnel also will provide technical and manufacturing assistance and training to TAI both in Turkey and Poland. The PZL facility is the largest manufacturing facility outside the United States owned by Lockheed Martin.

Featured image: Turkish colours in Poland. (Image © (Image © www.kristrzaski.pl)

Meet the Lockheed Martin Black Hawk

As we at Airheadsfly.com reported earlier, Lockheed Martin is buying Sikorsky Aircraft. The biggest weapons manufacturer of the world – in sales – will thereby be the new daddy of the famous Black Hawk helicopter, the big CH-53 and the fast future combat helicopter of the future, the S-97 Raider – plus offshore rotary business and the Sikorsky daughter company Schweizer.

One of the leading helicopters in the oil and gas industry is the Sikorsky S-92, in use for years in for example the Norwegian offshore business (Image © Aircontactgruppen Norge)
RELATED POST: Sikorsky to disappear under oil and gas pressure
Lockheed Martin pays 9 billion dollar for the deal, to the company that was Sikorsky’s parent for 85 years: United Technologies Corporation. US Federal authorities will have to approve of the deal, safeguarding that it doesn’t collide with monopoly regulations.

If approved the transition of Sikorsky into Lockheed Martin will be done by the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016. “The Corporation plans to align Sikorsky under the Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training business segment. MST and Stratford, Connecticut, based Sikorsky currently partner on a number of critical programs, including the VH-92 Presidential Helicopter, Combat Rescue Helicopter and the Naval MH-60 Helicopter,” Lockheed Martin writes in its statement.

With the acquisition of Sikorsky by Lockheed Martin the end of the company founded in 1923 is there, as Lockheed Martin will likely release the Sikorsky helicopters of the future under its own name – the way Boeing did when it acquired McDonnell Douglas and the way McDonnell Douglas did when it bought Hughes.

Re-enacting air landing operations of World War II in the Netherlands in September 2014 (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Black Hawks Re-enacting air landing operations of World War II in the Netherlands in September 2014 (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Optionally Piloted Black Hawk Demonstrator Helicopter Takes Successful First Flight on 11 March 2014 (Image © Sikorsky)
Optionally Piloted Black Hawk Demonstrator Helicopter Takes Successful First Flight on 11 March 2014 (Image © Sikorsky)
The first UH-60M for Taiwan arrives by ship on 4 December 2014 (Image © RoC Army)
The first UH-60M for Taiwan arrives by ship on 4 December 2014 (Image © RoC Army)

Sikorsky produced the world’s first single main rotor helicopter, the VS-300, and was the force behind the XR-4 that became the first helicopter to fly cross-country across the USA. The Sikorsky S-58 became the first helicopter to retrieve a US astronaut, commander Alan Shepherd, in 1961.

The most numerous Sikorsky helicopter flying around at the moment is the Black Hawk and its derivatives like the Sea Hawk. With its first flight on 17 October 1974 more than 4,000 UH-60s and likes have been produced so far – with the military of 24 nations relying on these work horses.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): Sweden was the first export customer for the UH-60M Black Hawk. Seen here in June 2012 during a tactical assault demonstration at F3 Linköping-Malmen Airbase (Image © Marcel Burger)

One of the new Australian MH-60Rs on flight trials off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, on 13 May 2014. (Image © LS Eammon o'Brien / © Commonwealth of Australia)
One of the new Australian MH-60Rs on flight trials off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, on 13 May 2014. (Image © LS Eammon o’Brien / © Commonwealth of Australia)

Brunei gives four Black Hawks as present to Malaysia

The State of Brunei Darussalam gives neighbouring Malaysia quite a nice gift: four former Royal Brunei Air Force S-70A Black Hawks.

Malaysia will almost certainly operate the second-hand tactical / transport helicopters out of Labuan RMAF Base on a island just 5 miles (8 km) off the coast of Borneo, the land that holds Brunei, the Malaysian provinces of Sarawak and Sabah and Indonesian Kalimantan. From Labuan the choppers will be likely be deployed to fight armed groups that have infiltrated the so-called Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone).

After the transfer – planned for September according top Brunei military officials visiting Malaysia on 23 January – Malaysia Army Air Corps is likely to arm the S-70As with arms. Whether that will mean that Kuala Lumpur will order more weapons or just re-plan 8 of the 10 newly ordered General Electric M134D Hybrid Miniguns is yet unclear. Those Gatling guns were meant to be mounted onto the Army’s sole helicopter fleet, the ten AW109s, before they would transfer from Kluang to Labuan.

Malaysia is also looking into acquiring dedicated attack helicopters, for which the Turkish-made and Italian-designed T-129 could be a perfect candidate.

The Royal Brunei Air Force is currently transferring to 12 new-produced, more modern S-70i Black Hawks. By helping neighbouring Malaysia with additional rotary wing, Brunei more or less provides an extra forward line of defence for its own security. The Black Hawk is not new to Malaysia, as the Royal Malaysian Air Force flies a pair out of Simpang / Kuala Lumpur airfield for VIP duties.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

↑ Check out our full overview of the Air Forces of Malaysia

A Royal Brunei Air Force on board the USS USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) in the South China Sea on 9 August 2005. Brunei operates the chopper type since 1999 (Image © Communications Specialist 2nd Class Brian P. Biller / US Navy)
A Royal Brunei Air Force on board the USS USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) in the South China Sea on 9 August 2005. Brunei operates the chopper type since 1999 (Image © Communications Specialist 2nd Class Brian P. Biller / US Navy)

First quartet of Taiwanese Black Hawk Mikes

The first lot of four Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters the Republic of China Army (RoC Army; Taiwan) bought from the US was delivered to the port of Kaohsiung on 4 December 2014. The assembling and flight testing were started upon arrival, with the first machine airborne hours after making it to its new home.

The first UH-60M helicopter (No. 903) was craned from the cargo ship at 10:00 in the morning. After being checked by the related technicians with equipment receiving plan and standard operating procedure, it was then transported to the assembly area to be assembled. It was tested and flight-tested in the afternoon. The UH-60Ms fly to Guiren Air Force Base in Tainan for training.

All 60 helicopters that Taiwan has ordered are expected to be in the country by 2018 and are the successors of the legendary UH-1H “Huey”. Fifteen aircraft will fly for the Ministry of Interior.

The Black Hawks are the second large rotary wing order for Taiwan in a short time. In October the final batch of 30 AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters was delivered.

Source: RoC Army with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

The first UH-60M for Taiwan arrives by ship on 4 December 2014 (Image © RoC Army)
The first UH-60M for Taiwan arrives by ship on 4 December 2014 (Image © RoC Army)

All Taiwanese Apaches flying, Black Hawks coming

Somewhat similar to the new UH-60s of the Republic of China Army is this Republic of China Air Force S-70C Black Hawk, seen here during a rescue training missions in August 2011 (Image (CC) Hyun Fumio)
Somewhat similar to the new UH-60s of the Republic of China Army is this Republic of China Air Force S-70C Black Hawk, seen here during a rescue training missions in August 2011 (Image (CC) Hyun Fumio)

The Republic of China Army’s (Taiwan) Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters seem to be fine, after the entire newly arrived fleet was initially grounded following a crash on 25 April. More positive news is that Asian nation expects its first batch of 60 new Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk assault/transport choppers in December, according to an Army official to Taiwanese media.

None of the 29 remaining Apaches have suffered a serious mishap since one of the crews crashed the 30th machine into a rooftop of a building in Longtan in the Taoyuan region in Spring. Having quickly established a pilot error as the reason of the crash, the fleet of AH-64s returned to full flight status at the end of May. The last of the 30 machines arrived in October 2014, but the two men that were on board the crashed Apache apparently have not been allowed yet to return to full flight status.

In December six of the 60 UH-60s for the Taiwanese armed forces will arrive by cargo ship. Of those 45 will slowly stream into current Army UH-1 units, where it will start to replace the remaining between 30 and 40 legendary Hueys. The final Black Hawk is planned to be active in 2018. The other 15 new Black Hawks will be used by the National Airborne Service Corps, which is the Interior Ministry’s organisation for disaster relief.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

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A Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) AH-64E Apache Guardian in action (Image © US Army)
A Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) AH-64E Apache Guardian in action (Image © US Army)