US Army’s Upgraded Black Hawk Completes Initial Operational Testing

The US Air Force aviation program office has announced that its upgraded UH-60V Black Hawk helicopter has completed initial operational testing and evaluation.

The upgraded Black Hawk features a new digital cockpit and state-of-the-art avionics suite.

According to the office, the testing aimed to demonstrate and assess whether the aircraft meets its requirements.

It also sets all necessary conditions for full-scale production.

Beginning in the first week of July, the Black Hawk underwent three weeks of preliminary testing under “realistic battlefield conditions.”

Five UH-60Vs reportedly completed a total of 200 flight hours during the test.

“This successful [operational test] allows the Army to make an informed decision on transitioning the UH-60V to full-rate production,” product manager Lt. Col. Howard Swanson said, adding that the upgraded aircraft utilizes the latest technology enhancements to support a wide variety of missions.

UH-60V Black Hawk Helicopter

The UH-60V Black Hawk helicopter looks nearly identical to previous variants, but it now features several technological advancements that make it easier to operate.

Apart from an upgraded cockpit, the aircraft is now equipped with a GPS area navigation database and advanced flight planning and mission capability.

According to UH-60V course manager Justin Meyer, one of the most significant upgrades to the helicopter is its “time-ahead, time-behind” feature that enables pilots to calculate the time of arrival based on the distance and the aircraft’s speed.

“You’re not going to be late with a mission, and you give yourself a hard time to get there,” he explained. “The whole time, it’s telling you, ‘Hey, you’re this fast or you’re this slow.’”

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Chief Warrant Officer 4 Frank Madeira, an instructor pilot at the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site, inspects a feature of a UH-60V Black Hawk helicopter. Photo: US Army