Bahrain 2012: Showing off the UH-60M Black Hawk
Bahrain was the first export customer for the UH-60M Black Hawk, currently the most advanced variant in the UH-60/S-70 family, and is proudly displaying one of its new helicopters at BIAS.
Sikorsky Aircraft has manufactured the UH-60 Army Black Hawk since 1978, and the UH-60M originated as an upgrade configuration for the US Armyís fleet of UH-60A, UH-60L and medevac UH-60Q aircraft.
In the end, the US Army revised its acquisition strategy for the UH-60M so that it will now procure new-build UH-60M helicopters in lieu of upgrading 1217 UH-60A and L aircraft, and building a much smaller number of new UH-60Ms.
The UH-60M offers improvements in both performance and operational efficiency and effectiveness. The new General Electric T700-GE-701D engines are more powerful, providing improved hot and high performance and allowing greater payloads to be lifted.
The UH-60Mís new composite spar wide-chord blade provides an additional 227kg (500lb) more lift than the current UH-60L blade and the new aircraft also enjoys better handling qualities, while active vibration control and extensive automated aircraft health monitoring systems should make the aircraft more available and maintainable, while reducing operating and support costs. Overall, the UH-60M enjoys a 2,000lb payload advantage and a 15kt speed improvement over the UH-60A.
The UH-60M also features an advanced cockpit and digital avionics suite, giving enhanced situational awareness, while new defensive aids confer improved survivability.
Bahrain requested the UH-60M helicopter in July 2006 and signed a $204 million contract for nine UH-60Ms, plus spares and support, in May 2007. The Bahraini order formed part of the US Armyís multi-year VII initial year contract, thereby taking advantage of the US Armyís economies of scale. The first aircraft was delivered to the Royal Bahraini Air Force on December 1 2009.
Bahrain received a transportable Blackhawk operations simulator device from Rockwell Collins Simulation and Training Solutions under a separate $10.3 million firm-fixed-price contract.
To date, the UH-60M has been delivered to the US Army, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt has requested the type.
Source: 21 January 2012 - International Defence News (www.arabianaerospace.aero)
Photo: The Royal Bahraini Air Force UH-60M Black Hawk (Photo by arabianaerospace.aero)