Sikorsky UH–60 Black Hawk

Product Type:

Twin-Engine Utility Helicopter

Using Service (US):


Program Status:

Full Rate Production (UH-60M)

Prime Contractor:

Sikorsky Aircraft (United Technologies)

The U.S. Army's UH-60 Black Hawk Utility Helicopter

About the UH-60 Black Hawk:

The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk is a four-bladed, single-rotor, medium-lift, utility helicopter. The latest configuration, the UH-60M, is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-701D turboshaft engines with 1,994 shp each. The older UH-60L is powered by the less powerful 1,890 shp T700-GE-701C.

The Black Hawk is designed to carry a crew of four and a combat equipped squad of 11 or an equal cargo load. It is also capable of carrying external loads of up to 9,000 lbs. The UH-60 can be fitted with stub wings to carry additional fuel tanks or weapons.

The UH-60M has four wide-chord composite rotor blades, foldable main and tail rotor blades, foldable tail pylon and stabilator dual redundant and isolated flight controls, and dual crashworthy and self-sealing fuel tanks. The aircraft can tolerate small arms fire and most high-explosive, medium-caliber (23mm) ammunition. The Black Hawk has two sliding cargo doors with pop-out egress windows, two jettisonable cockpit doors, and a three point dual OLEO landing gear with 'kneeling' capability. The fly-by-wire digital glass cockpit comes with multi-functional displays from Rockwell Collins; a four-axis fully coupled flight director (autopilot); a H-764G dual embedded GPS inertial navigation (aka dual EGI) system from Honeywell; AN/AMS-2 integrated stormscope; LN-200 inertial measurement unit from Northrop Grumman; AN/ARC-231 Airborne Communication System from Raytheon including two UHF/VHF AM/FM radios; five digital ICS stations; automatic direction finder; VOR/ILS, digital map; and a Goodrich Integrated Vehicle Health Management System (IHVMS). Also, the UH-60M is equipped with the AN/AVS-7 ANVIS/HUD (Aviator's Night Vision System/Head-Up Display) system from Elbit as well as a Goodrich AN/AVR-2B(V) Laser Warning System (LWS).

The UH-60 Black Hawk can perform a wide array of missions, including the tactical transport of troops, electronic warfare, and aeromedical evacuation. For example, it can reposition a 105mm Howitzer, its crew of six, and lift up to 30 rounds of 105mm ammunition in a single lift.

The Black Hawk made its first flight in October 1974 (YUH-60A) and has been in service with the U.S. Army since June 1979 (UH-60A). The UH-60 was designed to replace the UH-1 as the Army's primary tactical transport helicopter. The UH-60A was produced from 1978 to 1988. In 1989, production of the UH-60L with improved engines and drive train began. According to Sikorsky, approximately 1,500 A and L models were delivered to the U.S. Army + 600 aircraft to international customers. Variants of the Black Hawk have been sold to 25 international customers, including Brazil, Columbia, Israel, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates.

The need for an all-new UH-60M Black Hawk emerged in the late 1990s with the requirement to upgrade older, analog UH-60A and UH-60L Black Hawks with an integrated digital glass cockpit, dual digital flight controls, wide-chord rotor blades, more powerful engines + various structural enhancements. The UH-60M provides significant improvements to aircraft control, survivability, lift, range, navigation and situational awareness, engine durability, and maintenance costs. Sikorsky delivered the first full rate production UH-60M in December 2007 - preceded by 31 low rate initial production (LRIP) aircraft delivered from 2005-2007. The first U.S. Army HH-60M MEDEVAC helicopter (outfitted with a dedicated clinical cabin) was delivered in August 2008.

The U.S. Army used the UH-60 during the invasions of Grenada and Panama in 1983 and 1989, respectively. The Black Hawk played a significant role in the Gulf War in 1991 but is likely most famous for its participation in the 1993 special forces operation in Mogadishu, Somalia.

In July 2012, Sikorsky announced the delivery of the 500th H-60M Series Black Hawk helicopter. The deliveries comprise 400 UH-60M utility and 100 HH-60M MEDEVAC helicopters. Included are 73 UH-60M helicopters sold by the U.S. Army to six foreign militaries via the U.S. Government's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The 500 H-60M aircraft are part of a planned production run of a total of 1,375 M models (956 UH-60M and 419 HH-60M aircraft), which the Army plans to order through 2026. By then, the Army's total Black Hawk fleet - including upgraded UH-60A and UH-60L - is expected to exceed 2,100 aircraft.

UH‑60V digital cockpit upgrade:

An estimated 700 to 900 Army UH-60L Black Hawks are expected to be modified with a digital cockpit upgrade. Upgraded aircraft receive the UH‑60V designation. In August 2014, Northrop Grumman was selected to provide a scalable, fully integrated mission equipment package for the UH‑60L cockpit and replace older analog gauges with digital instrument displays. The UH-60V provides an integrated digital map, integrated performance planning, common functionality and commonality of training with UH-60M.


The UH-60 Black Hawk is equipped with two 7.62 mm machine guns and can carry AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and 2.75 inch Hydra 70 rockets. For more detail, see specifications below.

Price/Unit Cost:

In FY 2015, The unit cost of a UH-60M is $16.96 million down from $17.44 million in FY 14 (flyaway cost). The cost of the airframe is $11.89 million, the avionics package costs $662,000, the T700-GE-701D engines cost $739,000 each ($1.48 million total), with other costs making up the remaining $2.93 million.

Total Cost - Life of Program (LoP):

The total procurement cost of the UH-60M program is $25.46 billion (official DoD estimate) + $0.78 billion in research and development (RDT&E) funds, which means the total estimated program cost is $26.24 billion (numbers are aggregated annual funds spent over the life of the program and no price/inflation adjustment was made).


The Black Hawk provides a highly maneuverable, air transportable, troop carrying helicopter for all intensities of conflict, without regard to geographical location orenvironmental conditions. It moves troops, equipment and supplies into combat and performs aeromedical evacuation and multiple functions in support of the U.S. Army's air mobility doctrine for employment of ground forces.

FY 2015 DoD UH-60 Program:

FY 2015 supports the continuation of a 5-year multiyear procurement (MYP) contract for FYs 2012-2016 with the procurement of 87 aircraft. Also supports the continued development and testing of the improved turbine engine and digital upgrades to the UH-60L. In total, procurement funds in the amount of $1,473.4 million have been provided the UH-60 Program.

FY 2016 DoD UH-60 Program:

FY 2016 supports the final year of aircraft purchases under a 5-year multiyear procurement (MYP) contract for FYs 2012-2016 with the procurement of 94 aircraft. FY 16 also funds the continued development and testing of the improved turbine engine and digital upgrades to the UH-60L. In total, procurement funds in the amount of $1,609.7 million have been provided for the UH-60 Program.

For more information, click to see the FY 2016 DoD UH-60M Budget.

Sources: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Sikorsky, Rockwell Collins,
Northrop Grumman, and General Electric Co.

Specifications Armament DoD Spending FY2016 Budget

Last Update: March 11, 2015.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard Balle /// (

External Resources:

Sikorsky's UH-60 Site: Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk

Engines: General Electric T700-GE-701D

YouTube: Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk | YouTube

Fact Sheet: Not Available

Total UH-60M Program Cost:

 $26.24 billion  ($25.46B procurement + $0.78B RDT&E)

UH-60M Procurement Objective:

  1,375 aircraft  (Production: 1,367 / Development: 8)

UH-60 U.S. Defense Budget Charts:

DoD Spending on the UH-60 Black Hawk in FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014, FY 2015 and FY 2016
DoD Purchases of UH-60M Black Hawk Helicopters in FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014, FY 2015 and FY 2016
UH-60 flying over a city
Inside a UH-60M Black Hawk
UH-60 Black Hawk seen from the side
Defense Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2012/13/14 + Budget for FYs 2015 + 2016

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the UH-60 Black Hawk

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

Purchases of UH-60M Helicopters (ARMY) RDT&E: UH-60 Product Improvement (ARMY)

Aircraft Specifications: UH–60M Black Hawk

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Primary Function: Twin-engine utility helicopter
Prime Contractor: Sikorsky Aircraft (United Technologies Corp.)
Power Plant: 2x General Electric T700-GE-701D with 1,994 shp (each engine)
Length: 64 ft 10 in (19.8 m)
Height: 16 ft 10 in (5.1 m)
Width: Fuselage: 7 ft 9 in (2.36 m)
Rotor Diameter: 53 ft 8 in (16.4 m)
Weight (Empty): 10,624 lbs (4,819 kg)
Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW): 22,000 lbs (9,979 kg)
Capacity: Internal: 2,640 lbs of cargo; 11 combat-equipped troops or 6 stretchers;
External: 9,000 lbs of cargo (can for example carry a 105mm Howitzer)
Speed: 151 kts/174 mph (280 km/h)
Rate of Climb: 700 ft/min (3.6 m/s)
Service Ceiling: 15,180 ft (4,627 m)
Range: Ferry: 1,200 nm/1,381 miles (2,224 km)
Combat Radius: 320 nm/368 miles (593 km)
Armament/Weapons: 2x 7.62 mm machine guns; AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and 2.75 inch Hydra-70 rockets
Crew: Four (two pilots and two crew chiefs)
Price/Unit Cost: UH-60M: $16.96 million flyaway cost (in FY 2015)
First Flight: UH-60A: November 29, 1974
Deployed: UH-60A: June 1979

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