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Sikorsky H-60/S-70 Black Hawk

Posted on June 09 2021

Sikorsky H-60/S-70 Black Hawk user+1@localho… Wed, 06/09/2021 - 21:17

The Sikorsky H-60 Black Hawk is a medium weight military transport helicopter in service with the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard, and with dozens of military operators in Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. More than 4,000 Black Hawks have been built since 1974. U.S. and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Black Hawks are designated as H-60s with subvariants, such as the UH-60, MH-60, HH-60, etc., reflecting the primary mission the Black Hawk variant. Generally, Black Hawks sold via Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) are referred to as S-70s – though Sikorsky does have internal designations for FMS Black Hawks as well.

Program History

During the Vietnam War, the Huey fleet proved the feasibility and utility of air mobile operations but suffered from a lack of survivability and insufficient cabin volume. The U.S. Army launched the Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS) to replace the Huey in January 1972. The service planned to procure 1,107 helicopters which would be powered by two General Electric T700 engines. Early requirements for UTTAS included stowage within the C-130 and the ability to meet the following performance metrics on a 95° F day at 4,000 ft: 

  • accommodate a fully equipped rifle squad of 11 soldiers plus a crew of three
  • cruise at a speed of at least 145 kts. (167 mph)
  • endurance of 2.3 hrs.
  • demonstrate greater crash resistance for crew compartments
  • provide greater survivability against ground fire

Bell, Sikorsky, and Boeing- Vertol responded to the Army’s UTTAS request for proposals (RFP). In August 1972, Boeing-Vertol and Sikorsky were selected to build prototypes for a competitive fly off with the YUH-60A and YUH-61A respectively. Each contract was to build three prototypes with $61.9 million for Boeing-Vertol and $91 million awarded to Boeing ($390 and $574 million in 2021 dollars respectively). Sikorsky was particularly deliberate in its bidding strategy. The company had begun work on its UTTAS concept in 1971 following the loss of both the Army's Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) and Heavy Lift Helicopter (HLH) competitions to Lockheed and Boeing-Vertol respectively.

Sikorsky’s YUH-60A first took flight on Oct. 17, 1974 and was followed by Boeing-Vertol’s design that November. The Army took delivery of contractor prototypes through March 1976 and subsequently began an eight-month evaluation encompassing more than 1400 flight hours. Sikorsky won source selection on December 23, 1976 owing to the type’s use of mature technologies and to it meeting or exceeding all UTTAS program requirements. Following Army tradition, the UTTAS program was renamed as the Black Hawk program in honor of the eponymous Sauk war chief. See production & delivery section for more details.

Features & Variants

There are three generations of Black Hawks with successive improvements being made to each: H-60A, H-60L and H-60M. The “Seahawk” group is inter-related with each generation but is more often considered its own distinct group given its maritime focus.

First Generation


The UH-60A was the first production configuration variant in the H-60 family with an initial empty weight of 10,387 lb. and a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 16,450 lb. The A model could accommodate external sling loads of up to 8,000 lb. As the A-model’s mission equipment was expanded, its empty weight gradually increased to 11,284 lb. by the end of production. The UH-60A was initially powered by a pair of 1,600-shaft horsepower (SHP) T700-GE-700 turboshafts.

The UH-60A incorporated a host of new technologies and design features in its rotor arrangement to improve survivability and performance. The four-bladed main rotor uses titanium spars that are swept 20-deg. aft, while the tail rotor is canted 20-deg. upwards – generating 400 lb. of supplemental lift. The UH-60A features armored, crash resistant crew seats and its airframe is designed to withstand small arms fire and to provide limited protection against 23 mm cannon fire.


Sikorsky has its own designation system independent of the U.S. tri-service system. For decades, each country had its own specific designation within the S-70A series. For example, Australia’s aircraft, equivalent to the UH-60A, were designated as the S-70A-9. In contrast, Austrian aircraft were designated as the S-70A-42 but were equivalent to the UH-60L configuration. This system fell out of favor with the advent of the UH-60M-equivalent S-70i which does not receive a country specific identifier.


The MH-60A was the first UH-60 variant developed for U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) featuring SOF related mission systems such as night vision systems, improved countermeasures, and enhanced communications equipment. The aircraft was quickly replaced by the more capable MH-60K.


In the early 1980s, the Army briefly sought a helicopter to provide long-range, ground moving target indication (GMTI) capability. To this end, it experimented with a single YEH-60B demonstrator fitted with the Stand Off Target Acquisition System (SOTAS) radar starting in 1981. The system was fitted conformally to the bottom of the airframe and was deployed outwards, enabling the antenna to rotate. The Black Hawks inherent limitations in power, weight, and cooling capacity as well as in altitude (for signal propagation/horizon) made the helicopter ill-suited for long-range GMTI. Ultimately, the Army discontinued the program as the Northrop Grumman E-8 J-STARs became available.


The EH-60C is an electronic warfare variant of the Black Hawk fitted with the ALQ-151(V)2 Special Purpose Electronic Countermeasure System. The suite is also known as the “Quick Fix” mission system. The ALQ-151(V)2 consists of four dipole antennas mounted on the tailcone as well as a deployable whip antenna. EH-60Cs were used to support armored cavalry regiments and light divisions by locating and jamming enemy communications. These specialized aircraft were eventually replaced by EH-60Ls fitted with the ALQ-151(V)3. 


The S-70C is a commercial version of the UH-60A. C-1 and C-1A models were sold the Republic of China (Taiwan) and C-2 to the People’s Republic of China. See production & delivery history section for country specific modifications.


The VH-60N is a VIP transport variant operated by the Marine Corps’ HMX-1 – the squadron responsible for the transport of the President and other key government officials. The N features a blend of Seahawk and A-model features. Aside from VIP furnishings, the N-model also features measures to protect the helicopter against electro-magnetic pulses.   

UH-60A+ & UH-60FFF

The UH-60A+ features improved T700-GE-701D turboshafts capable of producing 2,000 SHP – however, the A-model’s gearbox remains unchanged. Surplus U.S. Army A-models were converted for Afghanistan. A portion of these are fitted with an armament package, becoming UH-60 Fixed Forward Firing (UH-60FFF) variants. See Afghanistan under production & delivery history section for additional details.

Second Generation


The second generation UH-60L was conceived to restore performance lost by increases to the A-model’s empty weight. New mission equipment such as the Hover IR Suppression System (HIRSS) and provisions for the enhanced stores support system (ESSS) added approximately 900 lb. to the airframe. The L-model restored 1,000 lbs. of performance with the addition of a new 3,400 SHP gearbox derived from the SH-60B, T700-GE-701C engines which each provided 1,800 SHP and a new flight control system. The UH-60L can carry sling loads of 9,000 lb., enabling the helicopter to carry the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV).


The CH-60E was a proposed UH-60L derivative for the USMC to replace the Boeing-Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight. While it was not pursued, the concept eventually evolved into the MH-60S.

HH-60G/MH-60G Pave Hawk

The Pave Hawk was developed for U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). The MH-60G was used for special operations forces (SOF) infiltration and exfiltration while the HH-60G was developed for combat search and rescue (CSAR). To meet SOCOM’s requirements, the aircraft recieved a series of modifications including an inflight refueling probe, a nose mounted weather radar, an automatic flight control system and measures to assist in all-weather operations.


The J model is a maritime SAR variant developed for the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) from the UH-60L. JASDF specific modifications include upswept ESSS mounts, a weather radar, a nose mounted FLIR, a rescue hoist and bubble windows for greater visual awareness during SAR. The J-model uses GE 401C engines which are adapted for maritime conditions. MSDF Black Hawks sport either a yellow-white or distinctive two-tone blue camouflage pattern.


The UH-60J(近代化)or “UH-60 J (modernized)” (often referred to as or “kai” for “modified” when abbreviated or as UH-60J+ in English language sources) is a SAR variant fielded by the JASDF as a replacement for the J-model. The UH-60J+ configuration includes J-model features as well as a removable inflight refueling (IFR) probe, SATCOM and a collision avoidance system.


The UH-60JA is a general transport derivative based upon the UH-60L for the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF). It features ESSS mounts, a nose mounted weather radar, a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) turret, IR suppressors and license built IHI 401C engines.


The K-model was developed for U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). The UH-60K features uprated T701D engines as well as additional longerons and strengthened structural components to raise the helicopter’s MTOW to 24,500 lb. Mission equipment consisted of the Texas Instruments APG-174 terrain following radar (TFLR), the Raytheon AAQ-16 FLIR turret, and a digital map system. As with the Pave Hawk, the MH-60K featured an in-flight refueling probe and rescue hoist.

AH-60L Harpia

The Harpia is a gunship derivative of the Black Hawk developed by Colombia. Each successive generation of the Harpia added weapons and improved avionics. Early Harpia I models were limited to gun pods with 250 rounds of ammunition. Harpia II introduced stub pylon mounted hardpoints for machine guns and 2.75 in. rockets as well as a weather radar and night vision capability. Colombia partnered with Elbit and Sikorsky in 2002 to develop the Harpia III configuration which features a Toplite II FLIR and targeting system, the Modular Integrated Display and Sight Helmet (MiDASH), an integrated stores management system and an improved armaments package. Harpia IV features the ANVIS/HUD-24, Toplite III EO/IR system and an improved countermeasures suite.


The HH-60L is a medevac UH-60L derivative incorporating many of the preceding HH-60Q features including a glass cockpit, additional electrical power, an oxygen generating system and capacity for six patients.


The MH-60L Defensive Action Penetrator (DAP) – which was originally named the Direct Action Penetrator – shares the K-model’s features but also is fitted with a weapons kit typically consisting of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, M134 7.62 mm miniguns, 2.75-inch rocket pods or M230 30 mm cannons mounted on removable pylons. Despite carrying offensive weaponry comparable to that of an attack helicopter, the DAP lacks the armor protection of dedicated gunships.


The UH-60P is a UH-60L derivative for Korea with a rotor brake, ESSS mounts and T701C turboshaft engines.


The HH-60P is a Korean derivative of the UH-60P designed for CSAR missions. Unlike its USAF equivalent, the HH-60P does not have an IFR probe .


The VH-60P is a South Korean VIP variant derived from the UH-60P.


The HH-60Q Dustoff was a Medevac demonstrator featuring additional electrical power, an oxygen generating system and capacity for six patients. The Q-model also featured a nose mounted weather radar and FLIR system. Work on the Q-model informed the subsequent HH-60L.


The UH-60V is the latest derivative of the L model and features a digital cockpit similar to that of the UH-60M. The V-model features 2,000 SHP T701D turboshafts but lacks the new rotors and other performance enhancements developed for the M-model. See the production & delivery history section for additional details regarding the program.

Third Generation


As the load of equipment supplied to U.S. Army soldiers increased from 240 lb. to 290 lb., another revitalization of the Black Hawk was necessary to restore performance margins lost in the 1990s to early 2000s. The UH-60M’s principal design changes include T701D turboshafts, new wide-chord composite rotor blades (which provide 470 lb. of additional lift), digital avionics, multi-function displays and a machined airframe to reduce vibration and weight. The M model has an empty weight of 12,511 lb. and MTOW of 22,000 lb.



The MH-60M is an extensively modified UH-60M transport equipped with YT706-GE-700 engines offering 2,500 SHP each, structural modifications to increase gross weight to 24,500 lb. (from 22,000 lb.), internal 185/200 gallon auxiliary fuel tanks, 60 kVA main generators, a rescue hoist and an IFR probe. Mission equipment includes the:

  • L3Harris ALQ-211 Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasures (SIRFC). Originally introduced in 1999, SIRFC consisted of a countermeasures dispenser system, passive RF capability across the C to M bands and active jamming capability across the H to J bands (with growth options for E to H band as well as J to K band).  SIRFC has been continuously upgraded since its initial deployment. L3Harris claims SIRFC is able to instantaneously detect and track threats and automatically release expendables.
  • BAE Systems AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) with BAE Systems

LA59 (XM-216) dark flares.

  • Raytheon ALQ-174 terrain following radar on Block 0 of the MH-60M. Following Block 0, the ALQ-174 will be replaced with the Raytheon APQ-187 Silent Knight Radar in Block 1. The SKR offers new capabilities such as low probability of intercept ground mapping, air-to-air look-down and maritime detection. Its typical mode of operation is between 100 and 1000 feet. See the production & delivery section for additional details.
  • Raytheon ZSQ-2 Electro Optical Infrared System (EO/IR).  The ZSQ-2 is a third generation FLIR capable of laser designation, laser spot tracking, full motion video and long-range surveillance. Raytheon began work to upgrade the ZSQ-2 in 2011.
  • DAP weapons kit which includes AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, M134 miniguns, 2.75-inch rocket pods or M230 30 mm cannons mounted on removable pylons.


The HH-60M is a medevac variant of the UH-60M which can accommodate six patients via an electronically managed litter system. The HH-60M is easily distinguishable from other M models by its bubble side windows on each side of the airframe. A red cross on a white background is typically pained on each airframe.


The VH-60M is the latest line of VIP Black Hawks in U.S. service. The helicopters are assigned to the Army’s 12th Aviation Battalion Executive Flight Detachment, based at Fort Belvior, VA. The VH-60M is easily distinguished from regular M models by their “gold top” livery pattern. Internally, the VH-60M features a VIP cabin modified by Saberliner Aviation. Avionics equipment includes BAE Systems ASN-128 GPS system and UTC UNS navigation system.


The S-70i is a direct commercial sale derivative of the UH-60M built by PZL Mielec in Poland. Minor differences in configuration exist between customers including different radio packages, different inlet and engine exhaust configurations (either simplifying the design for maintenance or improving IR suppression), deletion of the de-icing system to save 200 lb., addition of forward firing weapons, etc. Reduced labor costs and mission equipment decrease the S-70i’s flyaway cost to $15 million from the FMS UH-60M’s roughly $20 million. The S-70i has an empty weight of 22,000 lb., MTOW of 23,500 lb. and external load capacity of up to 9,000 lb.



The SH-60B Seahawk is a maritime Black Hawk derivative optimized for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) missions. Maritime modifications include new landing gear, a folding horizontal stabilizer, an automatic blade folding system, salt water resistant components, and the Light Airborne Multipurpose System (LAMPS) Mark III mission kit. To accommodate these weight penalties, Sikorsky added more powerful T700-GE-401 engines (1,690 SHP) and the improved gearbox to 3,000 SHP. The 1,890 SHP capable 401C was added to the fleet in the late 1980s along with the improved durability main gearbox rated to 3,400 shp.

The SH-60B’s mission equipment was gradually upgraded, but LAMPS III featured:

  • AAS-44 FLIR.
  • ARQ-44 data link.
  • ALQ-142 electronic support measures system (ESM).
  • AQS-81 towed Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD).
  • UYS-1 Acoustic Processor.
  • APS-124 maritime radar.
  • Sonobuoys (up to 25).   

Block I added a new sonobuoy receiver, GPS and Mk. 50 torpedoes. In the ASuW mission, the SH-60B can accommodate the AGM-114 Hellfire or the AGM-119 Penguin anti-ship missile. 


Sikorsky maintained its own designation system for the Seahawk as it had done for the S-70A. Examples include the S-70B-6 configuration for Greece and the S-70B-2 for Australia. S-70B configurations differ markedly between countries with later S-70B models being closer in capability to USN MH-60Rs than the original SH-60B upon which it was based.


The SH-60F was designed to replace the SH-3 Sea King as the U.S. Navy’s primary helicopter-based ASW platform. In addition to the SH-60B’s maritime modifications, the F-model included the ASQ-13F dipping sonar and improved navigation systems.


The HH-60H is a CSAR derivative of the SH-60F developed for the U.S. Navy. The HH-60 features a robust self-protection capability including the ALQ-144 IR jammer, the APR-39(V)2 radar warning receiver (RWR), AVR-2 laser warning receivers, the ARR-47 missile warning system, exhaust suppressors and the ALE-47 countermeasure dispenser system. Additional mission systems include the AAS-44 FLIR and various weapon systems including the AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and crew served weapons such as the GAU-16, GAU-17 and M240.


The HH-60J Jayhawk is a search and rescue derivative of the HH-60H developed for the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). The Jayhawk is fitted with a weather radar and FLIR and is operated by a crew of four. The cabin is provisioned for six people though actual rescues can exceed this figure per trip depending upon the circumstances.


The MH-60T is a configuration of the HH-60J and SH-60F developed for the USCG. The MH-60T features three new fuselage structure sections as well as new subcomponents to give an additional 10,000 flight hours of service life to the aircraft. Additionally, the MH-60T features a glass cockpit, a search radar, an EO/IR turret mount and a rescue hoist. The MH-60T can be armed with crew served 7.62 mm door guns or anti-materiel rifle mounts fixed in the main cabin.


The HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) is a CSAR derivative of the UH-60M, nicknamed the “Jolly Green II”. The CRH carries 660 gallons of fuel internally, up from 360 gallons, supplemental armor, APR-52 digital warning receiver, AVR-2B laser warning system, AAR-57 MAWS, aerial refueling probe, and rescue hoist. The CRH has three primary options for crew served weapons including the 7.62 mm GAU-2 mini-gun (designated as the M134 in U.S. Army service) or the 0.50 caliber GAU-18 and GAU-21 machine guns. 

S-70C [Maritime]

The S-70C is a Seahawk modified from the S-70B for Taiwan, equipped with AQS-18(V)3 sonar, APS-143(V) 3 radar, ASN-150 tactical navigation system, ALR-606(V)2 ESM, and ARR-84 99 sonobuoy receiver. It is distinct from the earlier S-70Cs exported to the ROC and PRC, and is differentiated in Aviation Week data products with the “[Maritime]” designation.


MHI developed the SH-60J configuration from the S-70B. The SH-60J ASW equipment includes a mix of imported and domestic mission system equipment. Imported components include the ASQ-81 D2 MAD, the Ednac AAR-75 sonobuoy receiver, the ALR-66 RWR and the Raytheon AAS-44 FLIR. Japanese specific modifications include the HLR-108 ESM, the HQS-103 dipping sonar, a new laser ring gyro attitude and heading reference system, cockpit displays and a data link. The SH-60J can be armed with a pair of Mk.46 torpedoes.


The MHI SH-60K was designed as the JMSDF’s next generation ASW helicopter to replace the proceeding SH-60J. The K-model features an all new composite rotor blade with swept tips. The new design increases maximum gross weight to 24,000 lb. from 21,884 lb. while retaining the existing spot factor of the J-model. MHI has described the use of composite materials in the main rotor as having facilitated lower vibration, lower weight and lower manufacturing costs. The SH-60K also features a new Ship Landing Assist System (SLAS) and Advanced Helicopter Combat Direction System (AHCDS).

ASW mission equipment includes the NEC Corporation HQS-104 dipping sonar, ESM, AAS-44-N1 FLIR, sonobuoys, maritime search radar, torpedoes (Type 97, Type 12 and Mk. 46) and amagnetic anomaly detector (MAD).


The MHI SH-60L features improved mission systems over the preceding SH-60K, most notably a new multi-static sonar. The SH-60L also is expected to undertake anti-surface warfare and search-and-rescue missions in addition to its primary ASW role. Multi-Static Active Coherent (MAC) sonar represents a significant improvement in ASW capabilities, particularly in littoral environments. Conventional sonobuoys operate in a monostatic manner: each buoy emits a ping, listens for its own return and transmits data to the monitoring aircraft. Under a multi-static system, sonobuoys listen for the reflection of pings emitted by other buoys. This approach facilitates detection in two ways. As with radar targets, the strength of reflections off acoustic targets depends on the target's shape and material, the distance from the target to the receiver, and the angle of the receiver relative to the emitter. MAC technologies mean that receiving buoys that are closer to sonar targets or positioned at more favorable angles may receive signals emitted by other buoys, increasing the chance of detection.


The MH-60S is a multi-mission Black Hawk derived from both the UH-60L and SH-60. The MH-60S utilizes the L-model’s airframe (for additional cabin room) while featuring the SH-60’s engines (T700-410C), drive train, rotors and flight control system. The MH-60S is fielded in three capability blocks. Block 1 models support vertical replenishment missions, search and rescue and general transport. Block 2 S-models are fitted with the Littoral Combat

Ship Mine Countermeasures Mission Package. The Block 2A are fitted with the AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System whereas the Block 2B include the ASQ-235 Airborne Mine Neutralization System. Block 3 helicopters are configured for anti-surface warfare and can be armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, Hydra 70 2.75-inch rockets or 7.62 mm machine guns (M240 or GAU-17).


The MH-60R “Romeo” is the latest ASW variant in the Seahawk family featuring the APS-147 maritime radar, the AAS-44 FLIR, the Link 16 data link, the Tactical Communications Data Link (TCDL), the Lockheed Martin AN/ALQ-210 ESM, and the Raytheon ASQ-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) consisting of a dipping sonar and an acoustic processor for sonobuoys. Raytheon cites the ASQ-22 as having between three and seven times the detection range of previous systems.  The MH-60R can be armed with Mk. 54 lightweight torpedoes, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, 2.75 in. rockets (including APKWS II - the Advanced Precision Weapon System) or crew served weapons. The Romeo is powered by two T700-401C engines.

Production & Delivery History  

More than 4,000 Black Hawks of all configurations have been delivered since 1978. Since 1981, U.S. & FMS Black Hawks have often been tied to multi-year procurement (MYP) contracts with the aim of ensuring program stability and generating cost savings. As of the time of this writing, nine MYPs have been awarded.

Approximately 1,000 A models were built for the U.S. between 1974 and 1989. Production of the second-generation L model began that year and continued until 2006 when the main production line in Stratford, CT switched to H-60M production. More than 1,000 UH-60Ls were delivered to the U.S. and international customers. Within five years, Sikorsky had delivered its 500th UH-60M. In 2016, Sikorsky announced UH-60M production had reached 1,000 units, including 792 UH-60Ms and 208 HH-60Ms. As of the time of this writing, more than 1,300 UH-60M derivatives are in service worldwide. Sikorsky has also delivered more than 1,000 Seahawks since 1984 with the largest customers being the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force.

Black Hawks have been built in four production lines with two proposed new lines in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The main plant in Stratford houses two final assembly lines with six stations each. At full rate production, the Stratford line is capable of producing a UH-60M in 42 days. Sikorsky started construction of its Stratford plant in 1956; it was originally 800,000 sq. ft. In 1980, the facility was greatly expanded to 2.2 million sq. ft. to support Black Hawk production. As of the time of this writing, the facility is also responsible for CH-53K production.  

Korean Air’s Black Hawk line was active from September 1990 to December 1999. MHI has continued to produce Black Hawks at its Komaki South (Minami) 小牧南工場, Japan plant from 1991 to the present. In support of the MHI program, IHI has locally produced the T700-401 and T700-401C2 engines under license from GE at its factory in Mizuho (瑞穂). In 2007, Sikorsky acquired PZL Mielec from the Polish government. The first S-70i took flight in 2010 from Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach Florida. In addition to S-70is, PZL also produces UH-60M cabins with 300 units delivered by March 2016. By 2019, PZL had manufactured 50 S-70is and 500 Black Hawk cabins.

United States

First Generation (UH-60A & Associated types)

The U.S. Army had an initial requirement for 1,107 Black Hawks. Sikorsky was awarded a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract in Dec. 1976 totaling 15 aircraft with options for up to 353 aircraft over three years. The Army received its first UH-60A in 1978: it was transferred to the 101st Airborne in June 1979. The first of nine MYPs was awarded in 1981 for $950 million ($2.9 billion in 2021 dollars) covering 254 helicopters. UH-60A production continued through MYPIII (FY1988-1991) when the line switched to UH-60L production in 1989. A total of 66 EH-60 Quick Fix electronic warfare helicopters were delivered between 1981 and 1988. The second MYP contained 54 of this variant. Other first-generation models in U.S. service include 9 VH-60As, approximately 30 MH-60As and 4 HH-60Qs. 

Second Generation (UH-60L & Associated types)

The third MYP was awarded in October 1984 for $983.2 million ($2.47 billion in 2021 dollars) covering FY1988-1991, initially covering 254 UH-60As. The MYP was ultimately switched to the L-variant. Sikorsky delivered the first UH-60L to the Army in 1987. The fourth MYP was the first full lot of UH-60Ls (FY1992-1997) and MYP VI was the last. The U.S. Army took delivery of more than 760 UH-60Ls by 2007. Production totals for other second-generation Black Hawks in U.S. service include at least: 96 HH-60Gs, 16 MH-60Gs, 23 MH-60Ks, 43 MH-60Ls and 44 HH-60Ls.

UH-60V production began in 2018 to provide a cost-effective supplement to the UH-60M. The U.S. Army plans to remanufacture 760 UH-60Ls to the V configuration at rate of 48 airframes per year. The conversion costs approximately $7 million compared to $20 million for a new build UH-60M. In October 2020, the first UH-60V rolled off the production line at Corpus Christi Army Depot. It is scheduled to enter service by the end of 2021. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the UH-60V remanufacture program.

Third Generation (UH-60M & Associated types)


The Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) gave Milestone B approval for the UH-60M in April 2001, authorizing the start of its engineering and manufacturing development phase. By November 2002 Sikorsky had completed the preliminary design review and under a year later completed its critical design review in June 2003. The first prototype took flight in September 2003 from Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, FL, test center. LRIP was approved in March 2005. The first LRIP contract for 40 aircraft was awarded that June and the first production UH-60M was delivered to the Army in July 2006. As of the FY22 budget, “The current UH-60 Army Acquisition Objective (AAO) is 2,135 which will be obtained by procuring a combination 1,375 UH-60M and 760 UH-60L to UH-60V conversion models”. The FY22 buy supports 24 third generation Black Hawks (9 UH-60Ms and 15 HH-60Ms) for $776.331 million. Rotary wing aviation was cut substantially in the FY22 request, FY20 and FY21 UH-60M procurement quantities were 74 and 42 respectively.

The FY22 request does not include a Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) projection, but the latest available SAR states FY2028 is scheduled as the last year of UH-60M procurement. The total program is estimated to cost $27.7 billion in FY21 dollars with $26.8 billion in procurement. These aircraft have largely been acquired through multi-year procurements including all of the following in-then year dollars:

  • MYP VII – 308 UH-60M, HH-60M, MH-60R; awarded Dec. 2007 and worth up to $7.4 billion; deliveries FY2008-2011
  • MYP VIII – 566 UH-60M (incl. FMS); awarded July 2012 for up to $11.7 billion; deliveries FY2012-2016
  • MYP IX – 272 UH-60M derivatives with options for additional 103 airframes; worth up to $5.6 billion in June 2017; deliveries FY2017-2021     
  • MYP X – expected deliveries between FY2022-2027. FY22 budget funds support start of MYP X.

Air Force

The USAF maintains a POR for 113 HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopters (CRHs) to replace the HH-60G at a total program cost of $10 billion, including $7.95 billion for procurement. FY2026 was scheduled as the last year of CRH procurement as of the FY21 budget, but the FY22 request slows annual deliveries given other service priorities. During the FY22 budget brief, Major Gen. James Peccia, Deputy Assistance Secretary of Budget explained:

“And so in FY22 we had reduced the quantity to buy down to 14 because we had bought three additional in FY21. We had hoped to buy a couple more with OCO this year but because of the changes in contingencies and our -- our posture downrange there's less funding in OCO.  And so we weren't able to add more back in.  But we're absolutely committed to the program.  We'll continue to buy the program of record out, and so there are no issues with the helicopter”.

In November 2020, The U.S. Air Force’s 23rd Wing and 347th Rescue Group received the first two HH-60Ws at Moody AFB in Georgia. The aircraft will replace the existing HH-60G Pave Hawks. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein (2016-2020) was a major advocate for the CRH program because of his experience being shot down over Serbia in 1999. In February 2021, the Air Force outlined a slew of upgrades to improve the type’s effectiveness – such as countermeasures, integrated health monitoring, degraded visual environment adaptations, etc., with a potential value of $981 million.

U.S. Special Operations Command

U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has ordered 70 MH-60Ms. The first 22 helicopters were delivered as UH-60Ms and were subsequently modified between FY07 to FY10 at the Special Operations Forces Supply Activity (SOFSA) facility in Kentucky. Follow-on aircraft were delivered as MH-60Ms. The FY22 request funds an attrition replacement for an aircraft lost in the previous year for $29.9 million.

SOCOM has launched a series of upgrades to keep the MH-60M survivable and offset weight gains in mission equipment. The Block 1 version of the MH-60M set to arrive in 2025 introduces the 3,000 shp. GE Aviation T901 engine, the Ku-band Silent Knight terrain-following/terrain-avoidance radar and a newly developed Sierra Nevada Degraded Visibility Environment system. The follow-on Block 2 and 3 requirements also have been drafted for the fleet to offset the impact of any delays in the FLRAA program. In May 2020 Geoffrey Downer, SOCOM’s program executive officer for rotary wing aviation, stated:

“Our plan is really dependent on what the Army is doing with the Future Vertical Lift program and how it stays on schedule… If it turns out that everything falls in line with the [FLRAA], then we will transition seamlessly into that [program]. If there is an issue with the Army's program, we will continue to march on with future Block 2 and Block 3 modifications for [the] MH-60 fleet.”

Seeking to avoid one of the most extensive proposed post-production upgrades for the MH-60M, SOCOM successfully lobbied the Army to include an air refueling requirement in the baseline design for FLRAA, Downer says. However, the Army isn’t paying to certify the air refueling capability, so that funding would come out of SOCOM’s acquisition budget. SOCOM expects to receive the first prototype of a special operations version of the FLRAA aircraft in 2026 or 2027 to perform a user evaluation, which will inform decisions on any additional modifications.

In May of the following year, Downer again affirmed that the command sought to replace the UH-60M with FLRAA and the UH-60L DAP with FARA. A decision on the DAP replacement is expected by 2025.  


U.S. Navy

A total of five YSH-60Bs were built to support the Seahawk test program, the first of which flew in December 1979. The first production SH-60B flew in February 1983 and the type entered Navy service a year later. Between 1984 and 1993, the USN took delivery of 181 SH-60Bs. A total of 76 F-model ASW Seahawks were delivered between 1989 and 1994. The Navy also inducted 45 HH-60H CSAR models. By the 1990s, the Navy operated seven different helicopters from its surface combatants including the SH-60B, SH-60F, HH-60H, H-46, H-1, and H-2. The USN sought to downsize this fleet to two multi-mission platforms to promote savings and improve logistics. All seven of these helicopter fleets were gradually replaced by the MH-60S and MH-60R starting in the early 2000s until 2019 when the last HH-60H was withdrawn from service.

The MH-60R program was launched in 1993 as the “LAMPS Mark III Block II” program which sought to build upon the SH-60B’s ASW capabilities with a more modern ASW suite. A pair of SH-60Bs were converted to YSH-60R test examples and first flew in the new configuration in 1998. Originally, SH-60Bs would be remanufactured to the SH-60R configuration with the improved mission systems but the Navy decided to procure new airframes. The expanding mission requirements led the Navy to redesignate the type as the MH-60R. A total of 288 MH-60Rs were delivered to the sea service between August 2005 and December 2020 at a procurement cost of more than $12.4 billion in FY21 dollars.

The MH-60S began its development in 1997, initially as a CH-46 replacement. Sikorsky tested a CH-60S demonstrator combining the features of the UH-60L and SH-60F and subsequently received an LRIP contract in 1998. The first helicopter flew in January 2000 and the type was redesignated as the MH-60S in 2001 to reflect its new multi-mission role. The USN ordered a total of 275 MH-60S helicopters which were delivered between 2001 and 2016 at a total procurement cost of $7.845 billion in adjusted FY21 dollars. The first 50 helicopters were Block 1 models limited to vertical replenishment and transport missions whereas the remaining 225 helicopters are capable of installing both Block 2 and Block 3 mission kits. 

U.S. Marine Corps

The USMC acquired the first of nine VH-60Ns for VIP transport in 1988. HMX-1 also received a single UH-60N. The Marine Corps plans to replace all of its Black Hawks with VH-92As by 2023.

U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) launched its HH-60J Jayhawk program in 1986, seeking to leverage USN investments in the HH-60H and replace its existing HH-3F search and rescue fleet. The USCG placed an initial order for 42 HH-60Js in the early 1990s – an additional three remanufactured SH-60s were subsequently delivered.

Between 2009 and 2013, the USCG remanufactured its Jayhawk fleet to the MH-60T configuration. On Jan. 21, 2021, the USCG awarded Sikorsky an IDIQ contract worth up to $850 million for MH-60T hulls to extend the service life of its fleet. As part of the contract award, which runs into 2025, the USCG placed an initial order for 25 new hulls. This initial order has a value of nearly $207 million. The first three hulls will be used for validation of production processes and assembly procedures before moving to full rate production of the next 22 hulls. Delivery of the first refurbished helicopter is anticipated in early 2023, with subsequent hulls scheduled for delivery at approximately one per month starting in late 2023.



In 2017, the U.S. announced plans to transfer 159 remanufactured UH-60As to Afghanistan. These aircraft will receive new GE T701C engines and are designated UH-60A+. A portion of the fleet will be modified to carry weapons and are known as the UH-60FFF (fixed forward-firing). As of February 2021, 41 helicopters are in service with the Afghan National Air Force and seven with the Afghan Special Mission Wing.



In April 2019, Defense Minister Xhacka visited the U.S. to discuss future defense cooperation, including the transfer of three UH-60Ms to the Albanian Air Force.



Argentina purchased a single S-70A-3 in 1990 for VIP transport. As of the time of this writing, the airframe remains in service.



The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) launched the New Utility Helicopter (NUH) program in 1984 to replace its obsolescent Huey fleet. A total of five companies responded including Aerospatiale with its AS.332B Super Puma, Bell with the JVX tiltrotor, Westland with the W30-400, Augusta with a modified Mongoose and Sikorsky with the S-70A. RAAF officials chose the Black Hawk as a result of its hot-and-high performance and to achieve commonality with the Royal Australian Navy S-70Bs and U.S. Army UH-60As. Australia ordered its first batch of 14 S-70A-9s in 1986 but ultimately opted to deliver the helicopters to the Australian Army rather than the Air Force.

The first unit was built by Sikorsky and delivered in 1987. Hawker-de Havilland assumed responsibility for local assembly thereafter. The Australian Army placed a follow-on order in 1987 for 25 additional Black Hawks. These aircraft featured an external stores support system (wing stubs). The final 39th helicopter was delivered in Jan. 1991.

Australia selected the Airbus MRH90 to replace the S-70A-9 under the AIR900 program, but delays and teething problems with the MRH90 have kept the S-70A-9 in service, particularly for Australian Special Operations Command use. The last of Australia’s Black Hawks are scheduled for retirement by the end of 2022. In April 2021, Australia announced plans to make up to 27 S-70A-9s available for sale.


Defence launched a tender to replace the RAN’s Sea King ASW helicopter fleet in 1984. The competition resulted in an initial order of eight S-70B-2s in 1985. An additional eight Seahawks were ordered and locally assembled by Aerospace Technologies Australia in Victoria. The first S-70Bs were delivered to the RAN in 1988 and all 16 aircraft had been delivered by the end of 1989. The S-70B-2 had a different ASW suite than their USN counterparts, featuring new acoustic processors, the MEL Super Search radar and a miniaturized INS system. The RAN phased out the last of its S-70B-2s by the end of 2017 after replacing the type with the MH-60R.  


In April 2010, Defence issued a request for tender (RFT) and invited Australian Aerospace (a local Airbus subsidiary) and Sikorsky to bid with the NH90 and MH-60R respectively. In June 2011, Defence announced it planned to order 24 MH-60Rs at a cost of $3 billion. Australia chose the MH-60R for its ASW capabilities and to ensure interoperability with the U.S. Navy and benefit from savings due to continued U.S. purchases of the type. Deliveries occurred between 2013-2016.



The Austrian Air Force ordered nine S-70A-42s in Oct. 2000 after a competitive evaluation with the Eurocopter Cougar. The S-70A-42 is based on the UH-60L configuration. Deliveries occurred between 2002 and 2004.

On March 16, 2021, the Austrian Air Force took re-delivery of their first of nine Sikorsky S-70A helicopters following an avionics overhaul with Ace Aeronautics in the USA. Austria plans to receive an additional three second-hand S-70A’s in 2021, which will be upgraded to the same standard. The $40 million upgrade package adds the Ace Deck VL-60 upgrade package consisting of four 12-inch, night vision compatible high-definition displays and touchscreen controllers in the cockpit. The upgrade has also fitted a Mode 5 identification friend or foe transponder, new radios and moving map systems. All nine Black Hawks will be refurbished by 2023. As well as the upgraded nine aircraft, the air force is gearing up to receive a further three Black Hawks purchased second-hand from Jordan. These three aircraft will also undergo the VL-60 upgrade and will be re-delivered in 2022, bringing the Austrian Black Hawk fleet to 12 aircraft. 



Bahrain purchased a pair of UH-60Ls for VIP transport in 1990.


The Bahrain Defense Forces became the first international customer of the UH-60M in 2006 with an FMS order of nine aircraft. The DSCA notified Congress of the potential sale of nine UH-60Ms and associated equipment and support services for $252 million. Sikorsky was awarded a $204 million contract for these aircraft in May 2007. The first aircraft was delivered in Dec. 2009 and all aircraft were delivered the end of the next year.



In August 1997, four S-70A-36s (equivalent to the UH-60L) entered Brazilian Army (EB) service. These aircraft were ordered to support the MOEP UN peacekeeping mission.


In 2010, the Brazilian Navy (MB) ordered four S-70Bs to replace its secondhand SH-3 Sea Kings for ASW missions. The DSCA estimated the total value of the arms package at $165 million. The MB received its first Seahawks in Dec. 2011 and deliveries continued into 2012. All aircraft are assigned to HS-1 and are based at Naval Air Station São Pedro da Aldea, near Rio de Janerio. In June 2011, Sikorsky announced that the MB had signed an agreement to acquire a pair of additional S-70Bs. These were delivered in Aug. 2015.


The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has ordered 16 UH-60Ls in three batches as a replacement for its Huey fleet. These aircraft are in a similar configuration as the DCS S-70A-36s operated by the EB. In 2006, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of six UH-60Ls worth $300 million. The first aircraft was delivered in Manaus, Brazil, to the 8th Aviation Group whose primary missions are SAR, CSAR, infiltration and exfiltration. Deliveries ran through till 2008. In Sept. 2008, a follow-on order was placed for eight additional helicopters, the first of which arrived in 2011. The associated DSCA notification estimates a cost of $525 million for eight helicopters as well as associated equipment and support services. The third batch of six helicopters was placed in 2009 and delivered in 2012.


In Sept. 2014, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of three UH-60Ms as well as associated equipment and support services worth $145 million. As of July 2020, Brazil has still not ordered any UH-60Ms.



Brunei ordered a pair of S-70A-14s in 1986 for VIP and general transport duties. A second batch of eight aircraft (S-70A-29s & S-70A-33s) were ordered and delivered between 1994 and 1998. These aircraft are equivalent to U.S. UH-60Ls and have been used for troop transport, firefighting and VIP transport missions.



The Chilean Air Force ordered a single S-70-39 which was delivered in 1998. The aircraft is of an equivalent configuration to the UH-60L and is used for search and rescue missions.


The Chilean Air Force ordered six S-70is for SOF use. The aircraft were built by PZL Mielec and delivered in two batches of three each in 2018 to the 2nd Air Brigade in Santiago. Locally these Black Hawks are designated as MH-60Ms but they are not equivalent to SOCOM models.



By the late 1970s and early 1980s, U.S.-China relations had improved and brough greater economic and industrial cooperation between the two former adversaries. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) selected the Black Hawk as the winner of a competitive evaluation in 1983. Sikorsky delivered a total of 24 S-70C-2s under a DCS contract between 1984-1985. At the request of the PLA, S-70C-2s featured uprated 701A turboshafts, a rotor brake and minor avionics alterations. The PLA has had difficulty sustaining its Black Hawk fleet following the arms export ban to China resulting from the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre.


Colombia is the largest operator of Black Hawks in Latin America with 103 ordered by the National Police, Air Force and Army from 1987 to the present. These aircraft perform a variety of SAR, counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency roles. Columbia acquired its Black Hawk fleets through FMS, DCS and secondhand delivery of former U.S. Army aircraft. A depot repair facility was established in Colombia in 2012 to support regional MRO work.


In 1986, the Colombian Air Force (FAC) ordered five UH-60As for $36 million, making Colombia the first Latin American customer for the type. The helicopters were delivered a year later and assigned to counter-narcotics missions. Colombia ordered a second batch of five aircraft in 1989. In 2009, eight aircraft remained in service and Sikorsky was awarded a contract to modify six of these to the UH-60L configuration. 


The Colombian Army received its first seven Black Hawks in 1997. A total of 21 S-70A-41s and UH-60Ls were delivered as part of Plan Colombia to the Army. Intermittent deliveries continued thereafter including: three UH-60Ls in 2005 as part of Plan Escudo, eight Black Hawks originally destined for Venezuela and 15 new build UH-60Ls ordered in 2009. The FAC also received a significant number of secondhand U.S. Black Hawks and new build UH-60Ls, a dozen of which were remanufactured to the AH-60 Harpia configuration.


Early Colombian Black Hawk counter-insurgency missions against FARC & the ELN underscored the need for an armed escort capability. This need was met by the AH-60 Harpia beginning in 1995. The Harpia II was introduced in 1998 followed by the Harpia III in 2002 which was co-developed with the assistance of Elbit. Harpia IV is the latest derivative of the type. A total of 12 UH-60Ls have been modified to the AH-60 Harpia configuration.


In March 2013, Sikorsky announced the Colombian Army had accepted delivery of five S-70i helicopters. The Army ordered another pair of S-70is in May which were delivered in Oct. that year. These aircraft are used for SOF missions and are fitted with a Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System (HTAWS) developed by Sandel Avionics and Sikorsky.



In Oct. 2019, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of a pair of UH-60Ms with associated equipment and support for $115 million. The Croatian Air Force and Air Defence service plans to use its Black Hawks in a variety of roles including SAR, Medevac, border security and general transport. A follow-on order of eight aircraft is reportedly under consideration. 



The Royal Danish Air Force held a competition between 2010-2012 to replace its fleet of Lynx helicopters. A total of five designs competed from three primes: Leonardo (then Augusta Westland) AW159, Leonardo AW101, Sikorsky H-92 Superhawk, Sikorsky MH-60R and NHindustries NH90. In Nov. 2010, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of 12 MH-60Rs as well as associated equipment and support services for an estimated $2 billion. The MH-60R was selected in Nov. 2012 and NAVAIR awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for nine Seahawks in 2013. The first Danish MH-60R was delivered to the 723 Squadron at Karup Air Base in 2016. Deliveries concluded in 2018. Danish Seahawks are assigned maritime patrol, anti-surface warfare and search and rescue missions. The Air Force has expressed interest in fitting its MH-60Rs with ASW equipment for a portion of its fleet. 



The Egyptian Air Force ordered a pair of S-70A-21 Black Hawks for VIP duties which were delivered in 1990. Egypt placed three follow-on orders for two aircraft each which were delivered in 1997, 2000 and 2003. Egyptian VIP Black Hawks have been modified with improved communications systems. All aircraft are in service with the 516 Transport Brigade.


In Sept. 2008, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of four UH-60Ms as well as associated equipment and support services valued at $176 million. As of the time of this writing, this announcement has yet to materialize into a contract.



The Hellenic Navy launched a program to acquire ASW helicopters to accompany its Meko class frigates. Sikorsky won the competition a year later with an initial order for six S-70B-6s. The “Aegean Hawks” arrived between 1995 and 1998 and were assigned both ASW and ASuW missions. The Hellenic Navy placed a follow-on order for three more helicopters in 2000.     


In July 2019, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of nine MH-60Rs as well as associated equipment and support services worth $600 million. In July 2020, local media reported Greece exchanged Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for both four MH-60Rs and for upgrades to its existing S-70B fleet. In October, Sikorsky was awarded a $193 million production contract for four Greek MH-60Rs. Greece has since exercised an option for three additional MH-60Rs.



India has long had an interest in acquiring Seahawks to replace its aging Sea King ASW helicopters. The Indian Navy planned to acquire 24 S-70Bs at a cost of $1.87 billion in 2014, but the deal was canceled in 2017 allegedly due to Indian concerns over price. Sikorsky reportedly refused to alter its bid to adjust to the depreciation of the Indian Rupee relative to the dollar as negotiations dragged on. The immediate need for ASW capability led the Indian Navy to request an FMS acquisition of MH-60Rs. A pair of competitions is being held to meet broader Indian Navy ASW and maritime general helicopter requirements – which the MH-60R is also participating in.

In April 2019, the DSCA issued a notification to Congress regarding the possible sale of 24 MH-60Rs as well as associated equipment and support for an estimated cost of $2.6 billion. The U.S. & Indian Governments exchanged Letters of Offer and Acceptance in Feb. 2020. The first three aircraft will be delivered from USN stocks while the remaining 21 helicopters were contracted in May 2020 at a cost of $905 million. Sikorsky expects to complete deliveries by 2024. Indian MH-60Rs will be modified with country specific SATCOM and data links.



The Israeli Air Force originally evaluated the UH-60A to replace its Bell-212s in 1983. While the test crew recommended acquiring the Black Hawk, competing programs deferred Israel’s Black Hawk acquisition until 1994. As part of a diplomatic effort to thank Israel for its cooperation in not retaliating against Sandam Hussein during the Persian Gulf War, the U.S. donated 10 UH-60As and 24 AH-64As to the IAF. These aircraft were modified with Israeli specific communication and self-protection systems as well as moving digital map displays. The UH-60A’s nickname in Israeli service is “Yanshuf” or owl in Hebrew.


In 1997, the IAF expanded its Black Hawk fleet with an FMS order for 15 UH-60Ls (Sikorsky designated S-70-50s). The first helicopter was delivered in May 1998 and were modified with Israeli communication and self-protection systems. A year later, the IAF began modifying its aircraft with in-flight refueling probes and high raised wing stub store stations under the “Yanshuf -2” program. The IAF placed a follow-on order for 24 UH-60Ls (S-70-55s) in 2001. These aircraft featured uprated T701C engines, rescue hoists, a rotor brake and Israeli mission systems. The first batch of five helicopters was delivered in Aug. 2002. The combined UH-60A & S-70-50/55 fleet undertakes SAR, medevac and general transport missions.


In July 2016, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of eight SH-60F Seahawks as well as associated equipment and support services for $300 million. The aircraft will be provided under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. Science and Engineering Services was awarded a $25 million contract in Nov. 2018 to refurbish four SH-60Fs for Israel. Work is expected to be completed by March 2021.


Japan is the largest operator of Black Hawks outside the U.S. with multiple variants in service with the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF), Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) and Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF).


The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) selected the S-70B to replace its obsolescent Sea King fleet in 1983. In 1987, the U.S. and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the XSH-60J from the S-70B. The first production configuration aircraft took flight in May 1991. The JMSDF took delivery of 103 SH-60Js from 1991 to 2005. The type has been gradually phased out as the more modern and capable SH-60K became available. Recent budget documents indicate a portion of the fleet will remain in service with a service life extension program – perhaps to account for delays to the SH-60L program.


The JASDF followed the JMSDF’s example and chose to procure its own Black Hawks in 1988. The air service primarily uses its Black Hawks for maritime SAR. The first of 40 UH-60Js was delivered 1991. The JASDF originally sought a new H-X platform to replace its UH-60J SAR fleet but ultimately opted to purchase 40 new J+ Black Hawks in 2010 at a cost of $2.3 billion.


The JGSDF began to evaluate replacements for its KV-107 transports in 1995, leading to the acquisition of the UH-60JA. MHI delivered the first UH-60JA to the JGSDF in 1997 and a total of 40 helicopters were delivered through 2014. The service uses its JA models for general transport, search and rescue and firefighting. The 40 UH-60JA’s complement the GSDF’s much larger fleet of more than 120 Bell-Subaru UH-1J rotary wing transports.


The SH-60K was developed to replace the SH-60J as JMSDF’s the primary rotary wing ASW platform. Development of the K model began in 1997 and ran through 2002 by which time the first pair of prototype aircraft had been delivered. The Director General of the Japan Defense Agency (now Japanese MoD) approved the SH-60K for entry into service in March 2005. MHI received an initial order for 21 Ks between 2002 and 2004 in three lots of seven helicopters. The JMSDF has continued to procure SH-60Ks at a gradual rate with more than 63 in service as of March 2020. In 2016, the MoD requested ¥102.6 billion ($968 million) to procure 21 SH-60Ks as part of a multi-year procurement (MYP) which would deliver aircraft between FY2019-2021. The MoD has also funded a service life extension program to keep its oldest K-models in service.


As part of its FY2015 budget, the MoD allocated ¥7 billion ($64 million) to develop an SH-60K replacement. In November 2015, the MoD awarded MHI ¥6.9 billion contract to develop a prototype for delivery by 2018. The first XSH-60L rolled out in October 2020 – the airframe is believed to be converted from the USH-60K test airframe #8901. The JMSDF has a requirement for at least 80 SH-60Ls which is expected to sustain the Nagoya production line well into the late-2020s.



The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) ordered three S-70A-11s via a DCS from Sikorsky in 1986. These aircraft were assigned to VIP transport missions.


The U.S. transferred eight UH-60As to Jordan between in 2016 as part of a broader assistance package to bolster the country’s counter ISIL operations.


The Sultan of Brunei transferred a UH-60L Black Hawk to the RJAF in 1999 as a gift. It was used as a VIP transport aircraft. Jordan expanded its VIP helicopter fleet in 1994 by leasing a pair of UH-60Ls. 

Jordan ordered eight UH-60Ls in 2004. These aircraft were delivered to the Special Operations Aviation Brigade at Amman in 2007.


The Royal Jordanian Air Force operates UH-60Ms in both general transport and VIP roles.

In May 2015, the DSCA notified Congress regarding the potential sale of a single VIP M-model Black Hawk worth $21 million. The helicopter is scheduled for delivery in 2021 and will be used to transport King Abdullah bin Hussein II. In July 2020, the DSCA issued a follow-on notification regarding the sale of a single UH-60M and associated systems worth $23 million.

The Kingdom of Jordan is a beneficiary of the U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program. Under a five-year plan, the U.S. has financed the purchase of a dozen UH-60Ms worth $470 million. The aircraft were delivered between March 2017 to January 2018.



In Aug. 2018, the DSCA filed a notification regarding the possible sale of four UH-60Ms along with equipment and support services for $200 million. The new Black Hawks will improve NATO interoperability as the Latvian Air Force currently operates four Mi-8MTV-1s.



In July 2020, the DSCA notification outlined the potential sale of six UH-60Ms as well as associated equipment and support services worth $380 million. Like Latvia, the new Black Hawks will aid the country’s transition from Soviet to Western equipment  



The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) acquired a pair of S-70As for VIP missions in 1998. The RMAF in 2015 outlined plans to expand its rotary wing transport fleet with the secondhand acquisition of four Brunei S-70As. However, this sale has yet to materialize as of 2021.



Mexico ordered its first Black Hawks from Sikorsky via DCS in 1990. The first pair of S-70A-24s arrived a year later with one aircraft each assigned to VIP and SOF missions. The next batch of four DCS aircraft were bought in 1994 for SOF use and included IR suppressors and the ESSS. 


The Mexican MoD sought to recapitalize its Air Force and Navy rotary wing fleets as part of its Programa Sectorial de Defensa Nacional 2013-2018. The DSCA issued three notifications regarding potential sales of UH-60Ms to Mexico collectively covering 28 helicopters from April 2014 to May 2015 for both the Navy and Air Force.

The Mexican Navy received 10 Black Hawks between 2015 and 2018 which are currently used as general transports. The Navy lost a UH-60M in March 2020 in crash in Tepecuitlapa, Veracruz, which resulted in the death of a state police officer and 20 injuries.

The Mexican Air Force received the first of 18 UH-60Ms in 2016. The Air Force uses its Black Hawks for SAR, counter-narcotics and general transports. The service has expressed interest in acquiring an additional half dozen helicopters in furtherance of the Secretariat of National Defense’s Vision 2030 framework.

Note, the Mexican Federal Police Force (Policía Federal) also operates Black Hawks but is outside the scope of the profile as it is a non-military operator.


S-70A-25 & S-70A-26

In 1993, Morocco took delivery of two VIP S-70As equivalent to the UH-60L. The S-70A-25 has an eight-passenger cabin while the S-70A-26 has a 12-seat cabin. Both aircraft are operated by the Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie.



In the mid-1980s, the Philippine Air Force received a pair of S-70A-5 helicopters. As of the time of this writing, a single S-70A-5 remains in service with the PAF’s 505th Search and Rescue group.


In 2018, the Philippines held a competition for 16 medium transport helicopters as part of its Horizon 2 Combat Utility Helicopter program. Competitors included the KAI Surion, Leonardo AW139, MIL Mi-17, Airbus H225 and Sikorsky S-70i. The Philippine’s Technical Working Group (TWG) selected Sikorsky in Dec. 2018. The decision to offer Black Hawks through PZL and DCS rather than FMS reportedly was key in lowering unit costs and securing the sale.

In December 2020, the first batch of six helicopters arrived. During the acceptance ceremony, Defense Secretary Lorenzana suggested the Philippines may acquire up to 32 S-70is which could be used to replace the country’s aging Huey fleet. In June 2021, a second batch of five helicopters was delivered at Clark Air Base. 



Poland held a competition for 50 multi-role helicopters in 2015 worth €2.5 billion. Airbus was declared the victor, but the competition was subsequently canceled in in 2016. Other national defense priorities such as air and ballistic missile defense, long range fires and the F-35s have received greater prioritization. However, the Polish Army acquired four S-70is for SOF missions in 2019.

Saudi Arabia

UH-60A (S-70A-1, S070A-1L, S-70A-1V)

The Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) received eight former U.S. Army Black Hawks during Desert Storm. Following the war, the Kingdom ordered 12 S-70A-1 “Desert Hawks,” eight S-70A-1L medevac helicopters and a single S-70A-1V for VIP duties.


In July 2006, the DSCA cleared Saudi Arabia’s request to procure 24 UH-60Ls as well as associated equipment and support services for $350 million. These aircraft were delivered between 2008 and 2014. New build aircraft were complemented with re-manufactured UH-60As. Sikorsky was awarded $286 million in 2010 for the upgrade program which concluded in 2012. 


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is on track to field the largest UH-60M derivative fleet in the Middle East and North Africa – though the Kingdom appears unsure of how to balance FMS purchases with the desire to assemble aircraft locally. There are significant discrepancies between the number of UH-60Ms outlined in DSCA releases and the numbers outlined in the final Letter of Offer and Acceptance and totals listed in DoD contract announcements.

The DSCA approved a landmark $25.6 billion arms package in October 2010 which included 72 UH-60Ms. The package’s rotary-wing assets equipped the newly formed Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG). However, the final LOA signed in November 2011 covered only 24 UH-60Ms worth $638.3 million. Two additional LOAs were signed on September 15, 2015, for 24 helicopters each at a cost of $733 and $698 million. Cumulatively, these figures do not align with a June 2017 DoD contract announcement for 40 SANG UH-60Ms and 75 HH-60Ms as part of MYP 9.

A smaller purchase for nine SANG UH-60Ms for SOF duties was cleared by the DSCA in October 2015 and the associated LOA was signed in July 2016 for $147.4 million. These aircraft appeared in a January 2018 DoD contract announcement and are scheduled for delivery by 2022. A total of $193.85 million was awarded to Lockheed Martin for nine RSLF and eight SANG UH-60Ms. In 2019, the DoD announced

On March 24, 2021, the DoD announced it had awarded Sikorsky $99.9 million for the production of 25 modified UH-60Ms for the SANG which are expected to deliver by the end of 2024.


In 2016, Sikorsky and Taqnia Aeronautics signed an agreement to explore production opportunities in Saudi Arabia as part of the “Vison 2030” program. The companies signed another agreement in May 2017 covering the potential local assembly of 150 S-70is worth $6 billion between 2017 and 2028. As of the time of this writing, this has yet to materialize.


In May 2015, the DSCA issued a notification regarding a possible sale of 10 MH-60Rs with associated support services worth $1.9 billion. Sikorsky delivered the first Royal Saudi Navy MH-60R in 2018 and deliveries concluded in 2019.



The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) launched its Formidable-class frigate program in the mid-1990s, the first of which was commissioned in 2007. To provide ASW capability for the six new frigates, the MoD held a competition in the early-2000s between NHIndustries with its NFH90, Sikorsky with its S-70B, and Eurocopter's AS 532 Cougar Mk II. In 2005, Sikorsky was awarded a DCS contract for six S-70Bs. The Seahawks were delivered between 2010 and 2011. The RSN placed a follow-on order for two helicopters in 2014 which were delivered in January 2018. Singapore’s S-70Bs mission equipment includes the L3 Ocean Systems Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar (HELRAS), Telephonics AN/APS-143, Raytheon AAS-44, and Leonardo A244/S lightweight torpedo.



In February 2015, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of nine UH-60Ms as part of a broader package which also included spares, associated equipment and support services worth $450 million. The first pair of aircraft participated in a roll-out ceremony in June 2019 and were subsequently delivered that October to the Slovakian Air Force.

South Korea

UH-60P (S-70A-18)

The Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) selected the UH-60P (modified UH-60L) to replace its UH-1 fleet with an initial order for 81 helicopters. Sikorsky delivered the first UH-60P in Dec. 1990. Korean Air Lines (KAL) assembled the next 19 airframes from kits. The remaining aircraft were built locally under a five-year $500 million contract. The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) took delivery of 10 UH-60Ps for special operations missions as well as SAR roles in 1993. In 1994, KAL was awarded a follow-on contract for 57 UH-60Ps which delivered through 1999.


During the 1990s, the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) received UH-60Ps from the ROKA. These aircraft were designated as HH-60Ps and undertake CSAR missions with the 233rd Combat Search & Rescue Squadron.  

VH-60P (S-70A-22)

The 257 Special Flight Squadron, equivalent to the U.S.’ HMX-1 executive transport squadron, operates five VH-60P VIP Black Hawks. As with the ROKAF’s other H-60s, the aircraft were assembled locally by KAL.


The ROKN issued its second request for proposals in May 2019 for its Maritime Operation Helicopters program. Leonardo submitted its AW159 and Sikorsky its MH-60R. In August 2019, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of 12 MH-60Rs and associated equipment and support services worth $800 million. South Korean officials had hoped to travel to the U.S. and Italy in 2020, but Covid-19 delayed the evaluation. In December of 2020, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) had announced its selection of the MH-60R. On April 12, 2021, the US DoD announced Lockheed Martin was awarded a $447,230,778 firm-fixed-price order to supply 12 MH-60Rs to the ROKN.



The Spanish Navy ordered six SH-60Bs in 1988 to replace its SH-3D Sea King fleet. These aircraft were delivered in a similar configuration as USN Seahawks being produced at that time. In 2000, the Spanish Navy decided to double its fleet with another order of six aircraft. In 2020, Adm. General Teodoro Esteban López Calderón, Adm. Chief of Staff of the Navy, announced the Navy was exploring replacing its SH-60Bs with MH-60Rs.


The General Directorate of Armaments and Material (DGAM) authorized the procurement of eight SH-60Fs in 2016. The helicopters will be delivered under the U.S. Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program in pairs in 2018, 2021, 2022 and 2023. Prior to being inducted into Spanish service, the helicopters will be modified by Science & Engineering Services (SES) in Huntsville with improved GPS, INS, a new communications suite and new lights to facilitate shipborne operations at night. The program is expected to cost €128.8 million ($154 million). 



The Swedish Air Force held a competitive evaluation between the Airbus EC725 and the Sikorsky M model Black Hawks in 2010. The tender sought to replace the Air Force’s existing Super Pumas and to support operations in Afghanistan. The DSCA notified Congress of a potential sale in September 2010 – the package included 15 UH-60Ms as well as associated equipment and support services worth $546 million. Sikorsky won the contract for 15 aircraft 2011. The first pair of helicopters was delivered in March 2012. The Swedish Air Force locally designates its Black Hawks as “HKP16” for Helicopter 16.



The Republic of China Air Force (ROCA) received ten S-70C-1As and four S-70C-1 helicopters in June 1986. The C-1As replaced the ROCA HH-1Hs for SAR missions while C-1s undertook VIP missions. The 10 SAR S-70C-1A helicopters were nicknamed “Blue Hawks” in ROCA service as a result of their blue and white livery. All helicopters delivered in 1986 were fitted with commercial GE CT7-2D turboshafts rather than the militarized T700.

The ROCA subsequently ordered a total of seven “Super Blue Hawks” with more powerful T700-GE-701 turboshafts and SAR mission systems. Taiwan has maintained a robust civil-military SAR capability due to the frequency and intensity of its typhoon season. The ROCA retired the last of its S-70Cs in February 2020 as they were replaced by much more capable UH-60Ms.


In January 2010, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of 60 UH-60Ms as well as associated equipment and support services for $3.1 billion. Taiwan signed a LOA for 60 UH-60Ms in November 2010 for $1.72 billion. However, Taiwanese sources reported the MND revised the buy down to 45 helicopters with 15 for SAR and 30 for general transport. SAR configured UH-60Ms would be delivered to the National Airborne Service Corps (內政部空中勤務總隊) under the Taiwanese Ministry of the Interior. Sikorsky began construction of the first airframes in August 2012 and delivered the first UH-60Ms in 2014.

S-70C [Maritime]

The Republic of China Navy (ROCN) ordered 10 S-70C (M)-1 “Thunderhawks” in 1990 as part of Shen-ying Project I. The first aircraft was delivered a year later. The ROCN placed a follow-on order (Shen-ying Project II) in 1999 for 11 S-70C (M)-2s. These helicopters featured uprated T700-401C turboshafts while the (M)-1 configuration used the commercial CT7-D2-1.


With the marked expansion of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) submarine force, the ROCN has sought to bolster the nation’s ASW capabilities. In October 2015, Navy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Hsiao Wei-ming reported to the Taiwanese legislature that the service was examining acquiring eight to ten MH-60Rs to replace its MD500 ASW helicopters as part of Shen-ying Project III. However, the DSCA estimate (reportedly $700-800 million) was significantly higher than what the ROCN had projected. The acquisition was effectively shelved and transferred toward shipbuilding programs.

In April 2020, Taiwanese sources reported the Ministry of National Defense has budged NT$27.3 billion ($930 million) for the acquisition of 10 helicopters, Mk.54 torpedoes, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and other associated equipment.  In July 2020, Taiwanese media reported the acquisition has since been delayed by a year to 2022. The ROCN reportedly determined it needed to double its AGM-84 Harpoon inventory by 2025 to meet urgent coastal defense requirements – increasing funding to NT$81 billion ($2.7 billion). In October 2020, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of more than 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon missiles to Taiwan for $2.37 billion.



The Royal Thai Army (RTA) had originally planned to acquire 33 Black Hawks to replace its UH-1 Huey fleet but the service has only been able to afford incremental orders. Between 2001 and 2005, the RTA ordered seven UH-60Ls via the FMS program: three in 2001, two in 2003 and two in 2005. These aircraft are designated by Sikorsky as S-70A-43s. The DSCA announced that the State Department had given preliminary approval for the sale of four UH-60Ls and associated support for $150 million in August 2009. These aircraft were delivered in April 2013.


In July 2012, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of four UH-60Ms as well as associated equipment and support services for $235 million. A total of three aircraft were delivered in September 2014 and have since been operated by the 9th Aviation Battalion (formerly Airmobile Company) for SAR. The RTA requested another batch of four UH-60Ms but the Obama Administration reportedly froze the sale following Thailand’s 2014 coup. In 2017, Thai media reported the RTA still was interested in acquiring additional UH-60Ms but the country has yet to receive additional helicopters as of the time of this writing.


The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) ordered 6 S-70B-7s which were delivered in 1997. These Seahawks continue to serve with the 3rd Wing based at U-Tapao International Airport.


The DSCA published a notification regarding the potential sale of up to six MH-60S helicopters and related equipment as well as support services to the RTN in April 2006. Thailand signed a LOA for a pair of MH-60S’ in June 2007 for $58 million. These aircraft would not be delivered until October 2011 and are currently used for disaster relief operations and as general transports.



In June 2014, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of a dozen UH-60Ms as well as associated equipment worth $700 million. The Tunisian Air Force ultimately acquired eight M-models with four delivered in 2017 and four in 2018. Tunisian Black Hawk pilots trained at Fort Rucker, AL, prior to delivery. The Tunisian Air Force has also expressed interest in acquiring armed Black Hawks but no orders have materialized as of the time of this writing.



The Gendarmerie, within the Ministry of the Interior, was the first Turkish operator to receive Black Hawks with six S-70A-19s following trials in 1988. The Turkish National Police also acquired six S-70A-19s in 1990 and four surviving aircraft remain in service as of 2021.


In 1992, the Turkish Land Forces (TLF) ordered 45 S-70A-28s for $450 million ($863 million in 2021 dollars). The contract included provisions for 50 additional helicopters which would be assembled locally but these did not materialize. Instead, a follow-on order for 50 Sikorsky built S-70A-28s was placed in 1999 worth $561 million ($904 million). The configuration of these aircraft matches FMS UH-60Ls. As of the time of this writing, 64 S-70A-28s remain in service with the TLF.


The Turkish Navy ordered eight S-70Bs in 2000 through the direct commercial sales route. All aircraft were delivered by 2002 by which time seven remained in service following a crash that year. In June 2005, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) signed a memorandum of understanding for 12 Seahawks with an option for five additional helicopters. The $550 million ($723 million in 2021 dollars) contract was concluded the following November and deliveries were scheduled to begin in 2009. Production issues delayed deliveries until 2010 and Sikorsky provided an additional S-70B as compensation.


In 2009, Turkey launched the Turkish Utility Helicopter Program (TUHP) competition for 109 helicopters locally-manufactured. Augusta Westland offered its TUHP 149 (AW149) and Sikorsky its T-70 (S-70i). In April 2011, Sikorsky secured source selection for the $3.5 billion program. However, concerns over export licenses to third party countries delayed signing of the initial contract to 2014 and the final contract was not signed until June 2016.

The contract grants TAI license to produce 109 T-70s as well as an option for 191 additional helicopters for export. Sikorsky would deliver kits to TAI which would gradually be reduced as Turkish industry content is increased over a period of ten years. Alp Aviation will produce T-70 main gearboxes, intermediate and tail rotor gearboxes, main rotor heads, and landing gears. Aselsan will integrate and produce cockpit avionics and TEI will locally produce T700 engines. Of the 109 T-70s, 89 will be for military operators (TLF, Air Force, Special Forces Command, Gendarmerie, and National Police). The remainder will serve in the Directorate of the Forestry for civil roles such as firefighting operations.

In November 2019, TAI rolled out its first T-70. In January 2020, SSB President İsmail DEMİR announced Turkish industry was now responsible for 63% of T-70 components. The first T-70 was scheduled for delivery in 2021, but the fate of the program is currently unknown following Turkey’s acceptance of Russian S-400 components in July 2019. In response, the U.S. removed Turkey from the F-35 program and announced sanctions in December 2020. The State Department notice states the U.S. would enact the following measures.:

  • a prohibition on granting specific U.S. export licenses and authorizations for any goods or technology transferred to SSB (Section 235(a)(2));
  • a prohibition on loans or credits by U.S. financial institutions to SSB totaling more than $10 million in any 12-month period (Section 235(a)(3));
  • a ban on U.S. Export-Import Bank assistance for exports to SSB (Section 235(a)(1));
  • a requirement for the United States to oppose loans benefitting SSB by international financial institutions (Section 235(a)(4)); and
  • imposition of full blocking sanctions and visa restrictions (Section 235(a)(7), (8), (9), (11), and (12)) on Dr. Ismail Demir, president of SSB; Faruk Yigit, SSB’s vice president; Serhat Gencoglu, Head of SSB’s Department of Air Defense and Space; and Mustafa Alper Deniz, Program Manager for SSB’s Regional Air Defense Systems Directorate.

United Arab Emirates


The UAE acquired two batches of 10 S-70As equivalent to FMS UH-60Ls from Sikorsky. The first batch was ordered in 2007 and delivered in 2008. The second was ordered 2008 and delivered between 2009 and 2010. All of the UAE’s Black Hawks have since transferred from the Air Force to the United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command (JAC).


In September 2008, the DSCA issued a notification regarding the potential sale of 14 UH-60Ms to the UAE. These aircraft were delivered between 2012 and 2013 at a cost of $209 million. In June 2011, the DSCA notified Congress of a potential arms package to the UAE consisting of five VIP configured UH-60Ms as well as associated support worth $217 million. The UAE also placed a follow-on order for 24 armed UH-60Ms in 2010. The UAE signed a LOA in December 2012 covering 40 UH-60Ms worth $825 million. As of the time of this writing, 44 UH-60Ms are in JAC service.

The UAE’s armed UH-60Ms are referred to as AHBs while the JAC refers to these aircraft as Direct Action Penetrator (DAP) helicopters – not to be confused with the Defensive Action Penetrator in SOCOM service. AHBs have modified wing stubs which can accommodate GAU-19 machine guns, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or Hydra rocket pods. A nose mounted BRITE Star II electro-optical infrared turret provides laser designation for weapons employment. The UAE sent three UH-60Ms to the U.S. for a six-year development and test program which culminated in live firing trials at the Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in AZ. Subsequent aircraft have been modified locally by the Advanced military Maintenance Repair and overhaul Center (AMMROC).



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