Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Austria has proceeded with a EUR 715 million contract to buy 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters from Lockheed Martin (Sikorsky) under the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) construct, with deliveries to begin from 2028.

The contract was signed on 30 June 2024, with Austrian Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner quoted in local media reports as saying, “With the purchase of the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, we are making significant progress in improving our operational capability. These versatile aircraft make a significant contribution to increasing the safety of our soldiers.

“They will be invaluable to us in a wide range of operational scenarios, particularly in challenging mountainous regions and under extreme weather conditions,” Tanner added. “With this investment, we are taking another decisive step to ensure the operational readiness of our armed forces and to sustainably increase safety. We are proud to invest in the future of our Federal Army and to provide soldiers with the best possible resources.”

The Austian FMS deal, which was announced as approved by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency on 29 May 2024, covers 12 UH-60M Black Hawks; 26 T700-GE-701D engines (24 installed and two spares); numerous associated avionics, communications and mission systems; along with spares, technical publications and various aspects of logistics, training and programme support.

Since 2002 the Austrian Air Force has operated nine older S-70A Black Hawks, which have been modernised by the US company Ace Aeronautics, which in February 2019 received a direct commercial sale contract from the Austrian government to add another three similarly upgraded second-hand Black Hawks to the Austrian fleet.

The 12 UH-60Ms just ordered will thus double the size of the Austrian Air Force’s Black Hawk fleet. The new aircraft will replace the Austrian Air Force’s fleet of 23 Agusta-Bell AB212 helicopters, which, having been in service since 1980, will be phased out by the end of the decade.

A US Army UH-60M at the National Training Center in California on 21 January 2024. The Austrian Air Force’s ordering of a dozen UH-60Ms will double the size of its Black Hawk fleet. (Photo: US Army)