Another two brand new UH-60M Black Hawk multirole helicopters to enter service with the Slovak Air Force have touched down at Sliač Air Base on August 26, 2019.
Head of the Defence Ministry Peter Gajdoš said: “This marks another shift in modernising the air platforms of the Slovak Air Force, while at the same time strengthening its capabilities. The new Black Hawks will serve not just to meet the needs of armed forces, but especially those of all citizens in a variety of crisis situations.” As well as being fully involved in military exercises, he added, our Black Hawk helicopters recently deployed as an aerial firefighter to battle a wildfire in hard to reach mountainous areas within the cadastral territory of Bystrá, a village situated in the Low Tatras.
General Secretary of the SVK MOD’s Service Office Ján Hoľko emphasised: “I am very pleased that the current MOD leadership has begun real implementation of the modernization programmes. This is not only a commitment to our Allies, but it is above all else a commitment to our citizens.” He expressed his conviction that just as the MOD leaders are successful in delivering the modernization programmes for the Slovak Air Force, they will continue to work on projects for the Slovak Army as well.
Chief of Defence Gen Daniel Zmeko thanked the MOD leaders for the successful acquisition process to extend and enhance the Slovak Air Force’s helicopter fleet. He pointed out that the two new ‛Mike’ helicopters will contribute to accelerating the training of SVK flying and ground personnel.
The new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters were flown to Slovakia by SVK AF pilots. A total of 17 pilots have already completed training for this type of helicopter in the United States and three more pilots are undergoing training. The SVK aircrews trained to operate the multi-mission performers can carry out a range of missions. These include delivering troop transport, executing air drops, conducting rescue hoist operations to extract personnel, containing wildfires, and flying over mountainous terrain.
As from today, with the latest additions the Slovak Air Force operates six UH-60M Black Hawk platforms. Under the contract, three more aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2019. The entire fleet will be stationed at the Colonel General Ján Ambruš Helicopter Wing in Prešov.
A total of nine UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters have been purchased by the SVK MOD via the U.S. Government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. The contract, which is worth US$261 million, covers logistics, training of flying personnel and technicians, and delivery of helicopters to Slovakia.