Army orders 22 new Black Hawk helicopters

STRATFORD, Conn., 7 June 2005. Sikorsky Aircraft announced today that it has been awarded a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract valued at $245.4 million to manufacture and deliver 22 new UH-60M BLACK HAWK advanced utility helicopters to the U.S. Army.

Jun 7th, 2005

STRATFORD, Conn., 7 June 2005. Sikorsky Aircraft announced today that it has been awarded a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract valued at $245.4 million to manufacture and deliver 22 new UH-60M BLACK HAWK advanced utility helicopters to the U.S. Army. The contract also contains option provisions for up to eight additional UH-60M helicopters.

The UH-60M is designed to replace the older UH-60A BLACK HAWK and is the centerpiece of the Army's long-term effort to modernize the service's medium- lift helicopter fleet. Sikorsky Aircraft has manufactured the Army BLACK HAWK since 1978. During the UH-60M LRIP phase, Sikorsky will also continue to build and deliver new UH-60L models to the Army.

The UH-60M provides additional payload and range, advanced digital avionics, better handling qualities and situational awareness, active vibration control, improved survivability, and improved producibility.

The UH-60M's new composite spar wide-chord blade will provide 227 kg (500 lb) more lift than the current UH-60L blade. The new General Electric T700-GE- 701D engine will add more horsepower and allow additional lift during external lift (sling load) operations.

The new cockpit includes multi-function displays; flight management systems; modern flight control computers with fully coupled autopilot; an integrated vehicle health management system with flight data and cockpit voice recorder; inertial navigation systems with embedded global positioning systems; improved data modem; and improved heads-up displays. The narrower cockpit instrument panel will also significantly improve chin window visibility.

Today's contract follows the Pentagon's Defense Acquisition Board decision earlier this year authorizing the UH-60M to enter LRIP, which is the final phase in a defense procurement program before a full-rate production decision is made.

First deliveries under the contract are set to begin in July 2006 to support the September 2006 start of Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (OPEVAL). A full-rate production decision to authorize more than 1,200 UH-60M aircraft is scheduled for 2007. The Army plans to equip a combat unit with the UH-60M in early 2008.

Exact procurement numbers year-to-year and across the life of the program will be determined by budget authorizations and specific contract awards.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing and service. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., of Hartford, Conn., which provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries. For more information, see www.sikorsky.com.

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