The Army on Monday signed the expected last multi-year UH-60 Black Hawk contract with Sikorsky [LMT], awarding the company a five-year deal worth $2.3 billion for delivery of 120 H-60M helicopters.

With options, the Army said the 10th multi-year deal for Black Hawks could potentially be worth $4.4 billion and cover up to 255 helicopters.

A Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter (Photo: Lockheed Martin)
A Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

“This multi-year agreement allows the Army to meet current and future capability needs through upgrades, remanufacturing, replacement, and technology insertions,” Col. Calvin Lane, the Army’s project manager for utility helicopters, said in a statement. “The efficiencies of this contract make the best use of limited resources, and result in direct savings to the Army and to taxpayers.”

Of the initial 120 aircraft, 45 are expected to be UH-60M and 75 will be of the HH-60M MEDEVAC variant. 

The Army noted that final procurement quantities will be determined by Congress’ funding allocations and Pentagon acquisition priorities, while deliveries will begin in July and continue through 2027.

“Decades of Black Hawk production and enhancements, strong program execution and close partnership with the Army has kept the program thriving, and this contract is a testament to that success,” Nathalie Previte, vice president of Sikorsky’s Army and Air Force programs, said in a statement. “Additionally, we continue to see strong international interest in the Black Hawk due to its versatility and proven record of providing unwavering support to the U.S. and nations around the globe.”

Doug Bush, the Army’s top acquisition official, said in April the service was “moving quickly” on the final multi-year contracts for Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters (Defense Daily, April 4). 

Bush said at the time that the Army exceeded Congress’ expectation for associated potential savings with the multi-year deals for each of the helicopters, which helped secure support for the contracting efforts.

The FY ’22 NDAA included a provision supporting the final multi-year deals citing $234 million in potential savings for the Apache program as compared to awarding annual contracts, adding it “would facilitate industrial stability,” as well as $405.4 million in savings for the Black Hawk program over a five-year period (Defense Daily, Sept. 23, 2021).

Brig. Gen. Robert Barrie, program executive officer for aviation, first announced last year the Army was negotiating its final multi-year contracts for Black Hawk and Apache as the service shifts its priority to the Future Vertical Lift fleet (Defense Daily, March 17, 2021).

The Army is currently pursuing the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft Program to find a Black Hawk replacement, with Sikorsky having teamed up with Boeing [BA] to offer the Defiant X platform and competing against Bell’s [TXT] V-280 Valor tiltrotor offering.

A downselect decision to pick one winner to move into production for FLRAA is expected in September.