The UH-60 Black Hawk is an iconic American helicopter that has been in use with the US Army for a long time. It even got reversed engineered by the Chinese, who needed a multi-use helicopter like their American counterpart.
UH-60 Black Hawk: the Most Capable Helicopter
What makes the Black Hawk one of the most capable rotorcrafts in the US military inventory? For one, it can be used for air assault, air cavalry, or medical evac units for soldiers in the field. Inside its module cargo bay, it can carry eleven fully equipped troopers. More amazingly, it can airlift a 105-millimeter howitzer and 30 rounds of ammunition.
The first Black Hawk went into service in 1978 to replace the older UH-1 Iroquois / HU-1 "Huey" of the Vietnam war. Compared to the Bell Huey, it was more advanced and up to date and easy to maintain and repair.
It has found favor in how well it did close air support (CAS), air taxis for bringing soldiers to the field and picking them up later, but distinguished itself in bringing in troopers under heavy fire in landing zones. Other roles it plays as modified with extra equipment are command and control, electronic warfare, and special operations platforms that are usually top-secret missions.
Product of the Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS) Program
When the first UH-60 Black A Hawk was flown, it was called the A variant or UTTAS specially made as a multi-purpose helicopter to be 'Jack of all Trades.' Instead of having several helos (helicopters) for one job, it was the heir apparent to the legendary UH-1 Series "Huey" for combat as well.
In the contract from August 1972, US Army officials chose three entrants for the new army air mule, and they were the Sikorsky (model S-70) YUH-60A and the Boeing Vertol (model 237) YUH-61A (1974), who competed in UTTAS.
Closest to the winning UH-60 is the Boeing Vertol YUH-61A that was identical to the Sikorsky YUH-60A. They had the same number of troops with similar General Electric T700 engines. Eventually, Sikorsky was chosen over Boeing and became the legendary black Hawk.
Compare to the UH-1 Huey, and the Black Hawk was the next generation when introduced with a three-man crew and extra 11 troops. If more fuel is needed for more range, knock out eight seats to carry four liters inside, the seats of the crew are armored. The chassis can survive 23-mm shells when hit.
It has a hook to carry for airlift missions. It can also carry two M60D 7.62mm machine guns with the M144 armament subsystem to protect itself with jamming chaff and infrared jamming M130 general-purpose dispenser.
The rotor is hardened against shell hits and four-bladed, powered by dual turboshaft engines, with 163 mph on a level flight. Two engines power it (two General Electric T700-GE-700 1622 that was excellent when first used but is now obsolete.
By 2002, the service life ceiling of 25-years had been reached, which prompted upgrades and significant improvements on the UH-60 Black Hawk fleet. The changes will be coming soon to extend its service life from 2025 to 2030.