Army orders 40 new Black Hawks [expanding its fleet?]

Australia will acquire 40 new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the Army, with first deliveries expected to commence this year.

FILE PHOTO (August 2021): A US Army UH-60M Black Hawk in Germany. US Army photo by Pfc Jacob Bradford.

The purchase, under project LAND 4507-1, will be made via a Foreign Military Sale agreement [link lists full shopping list] from the United States Government.

Head Land Capability Major General Jeremy King said this was an important acquisition which would meet the strategic needs of the Australian Army.

“The Black Hawk capability will be a crucial element for us to protect Australia’s sovereignty, and deliver foreign policy objectives, including providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” Major General King said.

   

“The Black Hawk will support the deployment of our troops and their equipment where they are needed in times of crisis.

“Black Hawk is a reliable, proven and mature platform supported by a robust global supply chain.

“This acquisition will mean we can continue to defend Australia and respond in times of need in a safe and effective way for years to come.”

Today’s Defence announcement said the Black Hawks will operate from Oakey in Queensland and Holsworthy in NSW –  which is slightly surprising to CONTACT given that the MRH-90s we thought these Black Hawks would replace live mainly in Townsville. Therefore, our new speculation is that the Australian Army helicopter fleet is actually growing, with 5 Avn Regt’s Taipans remaining in service, possibly until replaced by a later and additional UH-60M acquisition. We also speculate that 40 choppers spread between Oakey and Holsworthy speaks to a significant expansion in either pilot training or special-forces capability or both. OR – 5th Aviation Regiment is leaving Townsville OR being disbanded. Whatever is happening, Defence is being economical with the truth, as usual 😉

Reinforcing our speculation, a statement from Lockheed Martin today said “the Sikorsky Black Hawk has proven itself to be a dependable and versatile battlefield and special forces aviation asset for, not only Australia but, for 35 other countries around the globe”.

When asked, Defence would only confirm that the new Black Hawks would be operated from Oakey and Townsville, as per the original press release – but added that 5th Aviation Regiment would operate Chinooks exclusively in future.

Lockheed Martin Australia Chief Executive Warren McDonald said the UH-60M Black Hawk was a tough, reliable and proven utility helicopter.

“Australia’s acquisition of the Black Hawk reinforces our nation’s enduring military interoperability with the US and allied nations,” Mr McDonald said.

“Black Hawk will enhance future joint operations and the ongoing protection of Australia and the Indo-Pacific region.”

Headquartered in Canberra, Lockheed Martin Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation in the US, also owns Sikorsky Australia, which has sustained the ADF’s Black Hawk and Seahawk helicopter fleets for more than 30 years.

Lockheed Martin employs more than 1200 people in Australia.

Delivery of the Black Hawk helicopters will commence this year.


 
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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

4 thoughts on “Army orders 40 new Black Hawks [expanding its fleet?]

  • 27/01/2023 at 10:54 am
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    The MRH-90 decision was down to John Howard to create a few jobs at Brisbane airport, Army did not want them.
    At the end of the day we need to increase defence spending to 3% GDP so we can afford all of the new toys.
    There was talk of 4 RAR being re-raised in Darwin, now that 1 Armd Regt and 7 RAR belong to 9 Bde, but I haven’t heard anymore in a long time.

    Reply
  • 20/01/2023 at 7:16 pm
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    Gee what a surprise……..NOT.
    We should of had these earlier and not wasted the $ on the MRH-90’s in the first place. LMFAO!!

    Reply
  • 18/01/2023 at 10:19 am
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    If we are still procuring big ticket items for the ADF – what is the point of the Defence Strategic Review (due to finish in March) announced by the Defence Minister – is it going to change anything? What is going on with the Armoured Vehicle Lynx/Red Back deal – who is getting what and when? The submarine decision is exempted from the DSR – so can we expect an Armoured Vehicles decision soon as there doesn’t seem to be that much equipment left to consider in the DSR

    Reply
    • 18/01/2023 at 10:28 am
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      Great question Iain. Like many if not all reviews in government circles, I think the rule is, “Don’t do a review unless you know what the out is”. QED – submarines, rockets, Black Hawk procurement projects get green-lit, ahead of schedule – while IFVs and probably tank upgrades get the brakes applied, using Strategic Review as an excuse, while they work on spinning the words that will see them canned.
      My opinion.

      Reply

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