The Development Of Blackhawk Helicopter

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The year was 1972. The year when the USAF had learn their lessons in the Vietnam War. This year gave the need to replace Bell’s Huey series and produce more reliable and versatile helicopter. And so, the US Army commissioned the Sikorsky and Boeing-Vertol to produce and initially test 3 prototypes helicopters that were robust, simple, and within the requirements of the UTTAS or the Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System.

The Skorsky helicopters were named YUH-60A while the Boeing-Vertol helicopters were named YUH-61A. Years later, both companies went head to head. Sikorsky’s YUH-60A was declared the winner. Sikorsky was immediately contracted to produce the first 15 units of UH-60A Blackhawks.

Since the Army created the specifications of the helicopter, the general appearance was literally made within the requirements set by the Army- the one that is stated to fit as a UTTAS helicopter.

One of the conditions is that the Blackhawk helicopter should fit and can be air-lifted in the cargo bay of the C-130 Hercules. Thus, the Blackhawk was characterized by a long, downward-sloping tail with a mobile stabilizer, four-bladed anti-torque rotor and sharply-swept vertical tail. This was designed produce more lift.

In 1979, the first Blackhawks were delivered to the US Army. After the initial production, Sikorsky became the sole producer of the Blackhawks. And in 1988, the company had produced almost 1000 units to the Army that served several purposes such as special warfare-support roles, aeromedical evacuation, and utility transport.

In response to the good reputation of the Blackhawks, the Army had ordered Sikorsky to produce 2 Blackhawk variants: the EH-60A and EH-60B. These are the 2 electronic warfare Blackhawk helicopters.

The EH became a more high-tech Blackhawk helicopter during the 80s.

Blackhawk helicopters are made for war. YUH-60A was designed to sustain heavy fire with a variety of structural features. The strong but flexible body protects both the passengers and the crew under hostile firing. The self-sealing fuel tanks, together with the armored cabin and the strong main rotor blades that can sustain hits of up to 23mm anti-air keep the Blackhawk maintain its flight. The wheeled landing gears are designed to sustain and absorb heavy landing and vertical impacts.

Over the years, the Blackhawks are tested at wars and are produced into several variants. Today, the Blackhawks are used in more than 25 countries around the world with different purposes such as peacekeeping, combat assault, drug interdiction, border patrol, medical evacuation, and disaster relief.

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