The US Army's aviation modernization plan calls for upgrades and improvements to
the UH-60 Black Hawk that will position it as the service's primary utility
helicopter for decades to come.
The US Army plans to upgrade 1,200 existing UH-60A and UH-60L and purchase new
production UH-60Ms, that together will provide greater capabilities and lower
maintenance costs than current A and L models.
UH-60M will be available as the standard configuration for all new production
Black Hawks in 2007.
In May 2001, Sikorsky signed a $220 million Research, Development, Test and
Evaluation contract to make 4 UH-60M test articles: 3 remanufactured from
existing A and L models and 1 new production aircraft.
First UH-60M maiden flight is scheduled for summer 2003. Work on the low rate
production UH-60M aircraft will begin in 2004 and eventually increase to 90
existing aircraft inducted per year by 2012.
New and rebuilt UH-60Ms will have improved payload, new digital cockpit
displays, a strengthened fuselage, new composite spar wide-chord blades and more
powerful engines. The recapitalized UH-60M aircraft will have an additional 20
years of service life.
The UH-60M composite spar wide-chord blade will provide additional 500 pounds
more lift than the current UH-60L blade.
The new General Electric T700-GE-701D engine will add 3 per cent more shaft
horsepower, which will allow 400 to 500 additional payload.
Sikorsky has delivered more than 2,500 H-60 family helicopters since 1978 and
the aircraft have logged more than 5 million flying hours.
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