Army places $387.2 million order with Sikorsky to build 35 new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 10 March 2016. U.S. Army aviation experts are ordering 35 late-model UH-60M utility Black Hawk helicopters and associated avionics for missions like armed reconnaissance and troop transport, medical evacuations, and search and rescue.

Army places $387.2 million order with Sikorsky to build 35 new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters
Army places $387.2 million order with Sikorsky to build 35 new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 10 March 2016. U.S. Army aviation experts are ordering 35 late-model UH-60M utility Black Hawk helicopters and associated avionics for missions like armed reconnaissance and troop transport, medical evacuations, and search and rescue.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., announced a $387.2 million order Tuesday to Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, in Stratford, Conn., to provide the Army with the 35 UH-60M military helicopters.

The twin-engine UH-60M Black Hawk can serve dependably in the most extreme conditions on Earth, Sikorsky officials say. The newest model of the Black Hawk helicopter integrates the Army's Future Combat Systems and automated aircraft health monitoring.

Lockheed Martin Corp. completed its acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. last fall. Lockheed Martin began its acquisition of Sikorsky in July 2015.

Related: Lockheed Martin to acquire UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter designer Sikorsky for $9 billion

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.

Compared to earlier models of the Black Hawk, the UH-60M incorporates upgraded T700-GE-701D engines, improved rotor blades, and state of the art electronic instrumentation, flight controls and aircraft navigation control.

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 can fly as fast as 151 knots at altitudes to 15,180 feet to distances as far as 276 nautical miles between refuelings.

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

Related: Army orders 26 thermal imaging infrared sensor pods for Black Hawk helicopters from FLIR Systems

The UH-60M avionics 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.

Sikorsky and the Army have had the UH-60M in full-rate production since late 2007, and by early 2009 the company had delivered it first 100 UH-60M rotorcraft to the Army.

On Monday's order, Sikorsky will do the work in Stratford, Conn., and should be finished by the end of 2016. For more information contact Sikorsky online at www.sikorsky.com, or the Army Contracting Command-Redstone at www.acc.army.mil/contractingcenters/acc-rsa.

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