• An Australian UH-60M. 

Credit: Defence
    An Australian UH-60M. Credit: Defence

The Army has taken delivery of another batch of Sikorsky UH-60M battlefield helicopters, bringing the total in service to six.

The most recent helicopters arrived at RAAF Richmond aboard US Air Force C-17A airlifters on 17 June and after reassembly were flown to the Army’s Holsworthy base, where they will enter service with the 6th Aviation Regiment (6 AVN).

“Six aircraft have been delivered as at June 2024, with a further six scheduled for delivery before the end of 2024,” a Defence spokesperson told ADM. “All six UH-60M Black Hawks have commenced flying operations, with the aircraft and crew progressing introduction-into-service activities.”

The previous Liberal government announced that it intended to seek acquisition of 40 UH-60Ms through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process in December 2021. In August 2022, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that Congress had approved the sale at an estimated cost of US1.95 billion ($2.92 billion at June 2024 prices).

“The proposed sale will replace Australia’s current multi-role helicopter fleet with a more reliable and proven system that will allow Australia to maintain the appropriate level of readiness to conduct combined operations,” the DSCA statement read. “The UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter will improve the Australian Army’s ability to deploy combat power to share Australia’s strategic environment, deter actions against its interests, and, when required, respond with credible force. Australia will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”

The first two helicopters arrived at RAAF Richmond aboard a USAF C-17A in July last year and a third was delivered in August. With the three latest deliveries, the fleet now stands at six units.

“The UH-60M Black Hawk provides Army with the modern, credible and sustainable aviation capability it needs to meet the contemporary challenges of warfare,” the Defence spokesperson added. “The UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters will operate from Holsworthy, New South Wales and Oakey, Queensland.”

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