The US Army unveiled six upgraded UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters at the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (EAATS) in Pennsylvania this week.
The army’s Utility Helicopter Program Office delivered the aircraft to the EAATS in late July, making it the first unit equipped with the Black Hawk UH-60V. The aviation school’s pilot instructors have been training on the aircraft since their arrival.
Black Hawk Upgrade
The Sikorsky UH-60V is an upgrade on the UH-60 L model, which entered service in 1989 to replace the original UH-A first deployed 11 years ago.
According to the army, the UH-60 V’s upgraded cockpit has similar features and capabilities to the UH-60 M model, with a certified GPS (global positioning system) RNAV (random navigation) database, advanced flight planning, and mission capabilities.
The service added that the “updated cockpit increases a pilot’s situational awareness while reducing the workload, resulting in a more capable and safer aviation platform.” Moreover, the UH-60V was the first US Army aircraft with open system architecture.
Test pilot and pilot instructor for EAATS Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jake Russell shared his experiences of the UH-60V. “Whether using the GPS navigation capability in the national airspace system or flying tactical routes in the battlespace, the UH-60V’s integrated avionics package provides the necessary information for safe and efficient mission execution.”
Highlighting the importance of the program, Army Program Officer-Aviation Brig. Gen. Robert Barrie called it the army’s “first real opportunity to upgrade its current helicopter platforms apart from their original manufacturers.”
“In order for us to bring capability onto this platform, it necessitated a significant investment both in dollars and time,” Barrie said.
“And because our threat is evolving faster than we are, and because our dollars are limited, it was absolutely essential that we find a way to bring capability onto our platforms more affordable and more rapidly, and that’s what this platform is the first of our ability to do.”