Since 1979 the UH-60 Black Hawk has been the US Army’s standard utility helicopter
The Sikorsky S-70A or UH-60 Black Hawk has been the US Army’s standard assault transport since 1979. It is the only rotary-wing aircraft to be operated by all five US armed forces and is also in widespread military service worldwide.
Sikorsky built over 1 000 of the initial UH-60A model for the US Army before switching production from 1989 to the up-engined UH-60L variant; UH-60A/Ls equip both regular and reserve units.
The Black Hawk has provision for machine guns, Hellfire anti-tank guided missiles and Stinger air-to-air missiles. It can also carry pods with unguided rockets or mine dispensing pods.
The US Army fields several specialized versions. The MH-60L Crash Hawk and MH-60K Velcro Hawk serve today as the primary Special Operations Aviation (SOA) assault platforms. MH-60Ls have been modified into a direct action penetrator for service with the 160th SOAR as gunships.
The Army operates around 60 EH-60Cs outfitted with a command and control SIGINT (COMINT) jamming system known in the latest field version as the Quick Fix IIB. The Army fielded one of the latest upgraded variant, known as EH-60L with the Advanced Quick Fix (AQF) system.
The Army plans to upgrade around 350 UH-60A to UH-60Q Dustoff configuration for the medical evacuation role and around 600 UH-60As to a common UH-60L+ configuration to standardize equipment. The ultimate UH-60X standard is being studied; this will incorporate the dynamic systems developed for the S-92 with a new more powerful engine.
The Oregon Army national guard operates UH-60L Firehawk as fire-fighting helicopters. The USAF has around 90 HH-60G Pave Hawks for combat rescue/SAR and seven MH-60Gs to support special operations forces. The US Marine Corps operates nine VH-60N White Hawks as presidential VIP transports.
Over 350 S-70As have been exported; significant operators are Australia, Colombia, Japan (aircraft for the JGSDF license-built by Mitsubishi) South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Turkey. Lesser users are Argentina, Brunei, Chile, Egypt, the Hong Kong Government Flying Service, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines and Thailand.