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Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk



UH-60M Black Hawk

US Army UH-60M Black Hawk seen in flight in 2019.
Source: US Army - © Public domain

United States
Transport helicopter
Entered service
In service
1972 - 1975
United States - Sikorsky
1977 - present
1974 - 1977 (prototypes)
United States - Sikorsky
Japan - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Australia - Hawker de Havilland
Poland - PZL Mielec
Unit cost
$ 5.9 million for UH-60L
Number produced
About 4.000 utility Black Hawks
S-70A (factory designation for utility version)
UH-60 (US military designation)
Black Hawk (official nickname)
Notable users
United States



The UH-60 Black Hawk is a late Cold War era transport helicopter of US origin. The UH-60 was developed by Sikorsky to meet a US Army requirement to replace the UH-1. The UH-60 was the first S-70 / Black Hawk series of helicopters to enter service. This article describes the baseline medium transport helicopter.


The UH-60 has a conventional layout with the pilots seated side by side at the front and the troop compartment in the center. A four blade main rotor is used in conjunction with a four blade tail rotor. The heavy duty landing gear consists of two single wheel shock absorbing struts at the front and a small tail wheel. The troop compartment can be fitted with seats and is accessed via two large sliding doors. Optional External Stores Support System can be fitted, allowing for external drop tanks or armament to be fitted.

Cargo capacity

As a troop transport the UH-60 can seat and move a squad of 11 soldiers. In the medical transport role six stretchers can be carried. Cargo capacity is 1.2 to 1.45 t internally or 4.1 t externally. This allows the UH-60 to sling load a 105mm M102 howitzer and carry its crew of six and 30 shells and charges.


The UH-60 is not meant to be an attack helicopter and for most missions only limited armament is carried. Each of the side windows can be fitted with a M144 pintle mount for a 7.62mm M60D or M240 machine gun, 7.62mm M134 minigun or 12.7mm GAU-19 minigun. Optional ESSS detachable stub wings allow for two wet hardpoints each side. These are mostly used with two 1.700 L or four 870 L drop tanks, but can hold 7 and 19-tube launchers for 70mm Hydra aerial rockets. Other specialized variants of the Black Hawk can be fitted with a wider range of armament, including autocannon and guided missiles.


When introduced the UH-60 featured analog avionics. The UH-60M introduced a glass cockpit with health management computer and GPS navigation. Some specialist and export variants feature a weather radar in the nose and/or a FLIR sensor.


The US Army acquired the UH-60 Black Hawk in large numbers to replace the UH-1 Huey in its airborne divisions and for utility and medevac roles. Various US allies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia have acquired the UH-60 as well, either in US military configuration or S-70A commercial export variant.


UH-60 Black Hawk

Two US Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters of the 101st Airborne Division in flight over Tikrit, Iraq, in 2006.
Source: US Army - © Public domain

Main US military utility variants

Original production version, introduced in 1979. Produced from 1977 to 1989. Many updated to UH-60L in the 1990's.
Upgrade of UH-60A with more powerful engines, improved durability gearbox and updated avionics. Produced from 1989 to 2007. Produced new and as upgrade of UH-60A at depot level. Features T700-GE-701C engines, with some later batches include 701D engines.
Further upgrade that includes more powerful engines, further improved gearbox, new wide chord rotor blades and new glass cockpit. Produced since 2006.


Facts UH-60A
United States
Medium transport helicopter
2 + 2 (2 pilots, 2 crew chiefs / door gunners)
15.26 m fuselage
19.76 m with rotors turning
2.13 m cabin
4.38 m tail wing
3.76 m to top of rotor head
5.13 m with tail rotor turning
2.76 m configured for air transport
Empty weight
5.1 t
Gross weight
7.7 t
Max takeoff weight
9.2 t
2x General Electric T700-GE-700 turboshaft
Power output
1.560 shp each
Rotor setup
Four blade main rotor
Four blade tail rotor
16.36 m main rotor
3.35 m tail rotor
Disc area
210 m² main rotor
8.8 m² tail rotor
1.360 L internal
Optional 1.400 L in two auxiliary fuselage tanks
2x 870 L drop tanks on ESSS stub wings
2x 1.700 L drop tanks on ESSS stub wings
Max speed
296 km/h at sea level
Cruise speed
268 km/h at 1.2 km altitude
Operational range
590 km on internal fuel
Ferry range
2.200 km with four external tanks
2 hours 18 minutes on internal fuel
5.8 km in flight
2.9 km hovering in ground effect
3.2 km hovering out of ground effect
Climb rate
2 m/s at 1.2 km altitude
Optional ESSS stub wings with two wet pylons each
Fixed gun
Optional weather radar, seen on some specialized and export models
Optional FLIR system, seen on some specialized and export models
Transport capacity
11 combat troops
6 stretchers
Cargo capacity
1.2 t internal
4.1 t external


Armament options

7.62mm M240

The 7.62mm M240 is the most common type of armament seen on the M144 armament subsystem mounted at the window between the cockpit and main sliding doors.

7.62mm M134

The 7.62mm M134 / GAU-2 minigun can also be mounted on the M144 armament subsystem.

12.7mm GAU-19

The 12.7mm GAU-19 is the heaviest type of weapon that can be mounted on the M144 armament subsystem.

Related articles

Bell 205

The UH-60A Black Hawk was adopted as the successor of the iconic UH-1D and UH-1H Iroquois helicopter in US Army service.