Australia has confirmed the acquisition of 40 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk four-blade twin-engine medium-lift utility military helicopters in a $1.96 billion deal with the United States government.
The purchase agreement was officially confirmed by the Australian government and the aerospace and defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin Australia. The new helicopters will operate from military bases in Oakey in Queensland and Holsworthy in New South Wales.
“The Black Hawk will support the deployment of our troops and their equipment where they are needed in times of crisis. The Black Hawk is a reliable, proven, and mature platform supported by a robust global supply chain,” the country’s Department of Defence said in a statement.
“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,” the statement concluded.
Lockheed Martin has been supplying Australia with UH-60M helicopters for more than three decades. The first old version of the Black Hawk, the S-70A-9, joined the Australian forces in 1986 as part of an order consisting of 14 helicopters of the type. The air vehicles were retired from service in December 2021.
The government first announced plans to buy the UH-60Ms in mid-2022. Deliveries of new helicopters are slated to begin in 2023.
According to the manufacturer, the Black Hawk is currently operated by more than 35 countries.