ABOVE: The US Army currently operates more than 2,100 Black Hawks

Sikorsky recently delivered its 5,000th ‘Hawk’ medium-lift utility helicopter, when it handed over a UH-60M Black Hawk to the US Army. The first production Black Hawk was accepted by the American armed forces back in 1978 and entered service the following year. As well as the US Army, which currently operates more than 2,100 Black Hawks, Sikorsky claim that it has over 35 international customers for the aircraft.

As well as being used for a wide variety of missions, including combat assault, medevac, aerial firefighting, search and rescue and special operations, Sikorsky and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) conducted a demonstration using an un-crewed ‘optionally piloted’ S-70 Black Hawk last November. Despite having such a large fleet, the Army is actively seeking to replace the aircraft, and has selected Bell Textron’s V-280 Valor tiltrotor for its Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programme.