Australia Confirms $1.9B Purchase of 40 Black Hawk Helicopters
The Australian government has confirmed its purchase of 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters from the US for 2.8 billion Australian dollars ($1.9 billion).
The sale was first approved by the US State Department in August 2022.
According to the department, the new choppers will improve Canberra’s ability to deploy combat power and defend its national interests.
Head Land Capability Major General Jeremy King explained that the Black Hawks would help meet the strategic needs of the Australian Army.
“The Black Hawk capability will be a crucial element for us to protect Australia’s sovereignty, and deliver foreign policy objectives, including providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” he said.
The aircraft will replace the Australian Army’s troubled fleet of Taipan multi-mission helicopters, with initial deliveries to be carried out later this year.
A ‘Reliable, Proven’ Platform
Manufactured by Sikorsky, the UH-60M Black Hawk is fitted with two General Electric turboshaft engines, allowing it to fly at a maximum speed of 152 knots (281 kilometers/174 miles per hour).
It can deliver and extract troops, evacuate casualties, and patrol borders.
Additionally, the chopper has low detectability and is resistant to small-arms fire and medium-caliber projectiles.
It features improved flight controls and redundant electric and hydraulic systems.
According to King, acquiring 50 Black Hawks would allow Australia to defend and respond safely and effectively during a crisis.
“The Black Hawk will support the deployment of our troops and their equipment where they are needed in times of crisis. The Black Hawk is a reliable, proven, and mature platform supported by a robust global supply chain,” he stated.
Once delivered, the aircraft will be deployed in Queensland and New South Wales and receive support from a “highly skilled” maintenance workforce.