The UH-60 Black Hawk (aka S-70) is a troop carrier and logistical support helicopter from the American Sikorsky helicopter company.
It’s a four-blade, twin-engine, medium lift helicopter that was the winner of a competition put forward by the US Army for a new generation of tactical helicopter.
The UH-60’s first flight took place in October of 1974. It replaced the iconic UH-1 Iroquois or “Huey” which was the defining helicopter of the Vietnam War.
The Black Hawk was the answer to a set of specific needs that were no longer fulfilled by the Huey.
The Blackhawk enjoys low detectability and excels at very low altitude flight. Since it spends so much time within range of small arms fire and high explosive medium caliber projectiles it has been designed to be resistant to both.
As part of this toughening, the Blackhawk has flight controls that are hardened against ballistic attacks and redundant electric and hydraulic systems.
It can also act as a launch platform for up to 16 Hellfire missiles using an external storage system. In total a Blackhawk can carry 10 000 pounds of armament. This includes missiles, unguided rockets, canons and electronic countermeasures pods. The Blackhawk can mount 7.62mm or .50-calibre machine guns in the windows.
The helicopter is roomy enough to transport eleven fully equipped troops or four medical litters. It can also transport heavy artillery using an external cargo hook.
All this payload is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-701C turboshaft engines. These provide 2000 shaft horse power each.
The toughness of the Black Hawk is not limited to bullets and other projectiles. It has also been reinforced against impact as well. The fuel system is crash-resistant and self-sealing. The crew seats and the landing gear are energy absorbing.
The Black Hawk is an iconic aircraft and was famously immortalized in the Oscar-winning film “Black Hawk Down” which depicts its role in the battle of Mogadishu.
The UH-60 Black Hawk is still in service and about 4000 units have been built since 1979. To this day various governments across the globe continue to purchase the Black Hawk which promises to remain an effective platform for years to come.