The Army has fielded the first five UH-60V Black Hawks, which a retrofit of the UH-60L upgraded with Northrop Grumman’s [NOC] ‘digital cockpit’ suite and its first aircraft to implement an open system architecture.

The Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s Eastern ARNG Aviation Training Site received the initial UH-60Vs, with delivery of a sixth UH-60V set to arrive on July 31.

Northrop Grumman’s digital cockpit will keep the U.S. Army’s legacy Black Hawk aircraft in the fight for decades to come. The system recently completed initial operational test and evaluation. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army)

“Congratulations to the Pennsylvania National Guard on being the first unit equipped for the UH-60V. Our OpenLift modular, open systems architecture is on board, enabling rapid and timely capability enhancements,” Northrop Grumman wrote in a social media post.

The Army noted that the 1-106th Aviation Regiment will be the first tactical unit to receive UH-60Vs, with fielding set to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2022.

The UH-60V program is expected to include converting 760 total UH-60L model aircraft to new, modernized configuration, according to the Army.

“By re-capitalizing the current legacy fleet, the Army will be able to deliver the modernized UH-60V for significantly less than the cost of a new aircraft,” the Army’s Program Executive Office for Aviation wrote in its Wednesday announcement. “The updated cockpit increases a pilot’s situational awareness while reducing the workload, resulting in a more capable and safer aviation platform. Additionally, providing a nearly identical pilot-vehicle interface to the UH-60M enables common training and operational environment which reduces training costs.”

The Army conducted the first flight of a  fully-upgraded UH-60V model helicopter last September (Defense Daily, Sept. 14 2020).