Slovak Armed Forces took delivery of two additional UH-60M Black Hawk military utility helicopters at the Prešov Air Base, a military airport located in Prešov, a city in the Prešov Region in Slovakia.
This brings to the total number of helicopters in service with the Slovak Air Force to four. The additional five UH-60M Black Hawks will be delivered in line with the terms and conditions of the contract next year.
SVK Minister of Defence Peter Gajdoš said: “These two helicopters are already equipped with a fast rope insertion extraction system, an internal auxiliary fuel tank, and a rescue hoist system.” He further added that the first two helicopters will be additionally fitted with the same equipment. As a result, the helicopter fleet will be capable of performing domestic crisis management tasks, in other words, SAR and disaster response operations.
“Modernization of equipment must always go hand in hand with training of personnel. That is why I am pleased to say that our trained pilots flew the new helicopters from a German port to their home base,” added Minister Gajdoš. A total of 6 aircrews have already been trained for operating the new air assets, and another three aircrews are undergoing training. The SVK Air Force intends to deploy new Slovak UH-60M Black Hawks on Exercise Atlas Common Challenger 2.0, which is due in October 2018.
The SVK MOD has procured a total of 9 UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters worth US$261 million via the US Governmentʼs Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk is a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-lift utility helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft, now a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin.
The UH-60A entered service with the U.S. Army in 1979, to replace the Bell UH-1 Iroquois as its tactical transport helicopter. Modified versions have also been developed for the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. In addition to U.S. Army use, the UH-60 family has been exported to several nations. Black Hawks have served in combat during conflicts in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and other areas in the Middle East.