Where did Ukraine’s HUR get a legendary Black Hawk helicopter?
Ukrainian intelligence officers on the background of a Black Hawk helicopter (Photo:HUR of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine)
At least one of the legendary U.S. Black Hawk multi-purpose helicopters is already helping Ukrainian intelligence, the Ukrainian military’s Main Intelligence Directorate or HUR reported on Facebook on Feb. 21.
Officially, neither the United States nor any other country has announced the transfer of any of the famous U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to Ukraine. However, on Feb. 21, the HUR published a news piece in which it showed the reconnaissance pilots who “returned after completing another combat mission.”
In the photo, Ukrainian scouts are standing in front of a Black Hawk helicopter with Ukrainian markings (in another photo, a Soviet-era Mi-24 helicopter is next to the Black Hawk).
“Military intelligence aviation of Ukraine continues to work at the forefront of the defense of our state,” Ukrainian intelligence said.
“Combat helicopters significantly increase the capabilities of special units of the (HUR) and the effectiveness of special operations. Pilots of the HUR of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine continue to destroy the enemy on all areas of the front.”
Commenting on the photo the HUR published, in particular the color scheme of the livery of the Black Hawk helicopter, Polish portal Defense24 suggested that it could be a modification of the S-70i Black Hawk.
Poland received more than 30 such helicopters at the end of last year. This version is manufactured by PZL Mielec, a Polish subsidiary of Sikorsky Aircraft.
However, Agnieszka Gasiewska, the company’s press secretary, told the Polish publication that “PZL Mielec does not have Ukrainian clients in its portfolio.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine Weapons Tracker analysts suggested that it could be a former U.S. Army chopper, repaired and upgraded by Ace Aeronautics, LLC.
“This particular vehicle does not have visible armament, but numerous upgrades are available that can provide significant firepower and superior sensor capabilities. In this case, it was likely bought privately and financed by allies,” Ukraine Weapons Tracker analysts report.
UH-60 Black Hawk
The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk is a U.S. tactical multipurpose helicopter developed in the mid-1970s by the Sikorsky Aircraft company, which was founded in the United States by the Ukrainian aircraft designer Ihor Sikorsky back in the 1920s.
The helicopter project won a competition for the needs of the U.S. Army and was named the Black Hawk in honor of the legendary warrior and leader of the Sauk native American tribe. In 1979, the helicopter entered service with the U.S. Army.
The Black Hawk is designed to transport personnel and various military cargoes, as well as to evacuate wounded and transport bulky cargo.
Over the past decades, many versions of this helicopter have been developed, including improved versions such as UH-60L and UH-60M, and specialized versions for the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Black Hawks have seen combat in conflicts in Panama, Iraq, Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and elsewhere.
An improved secret modification of Black Hawk helicopters, which managed to avoid Pakistani radars, was used in the U.S. special operation to eliminate Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
Furthermore, in service with the U.S. Army, Black Hawk helicopters perform a wide range of tasks: from tactical troop transport to electronic warfare and aeromedical evacuation. The VIP version of the chopper, known as the VH-60N, is used to transport high-ranking officials (such as members of Congress, etc.).
During air assault operations, it can carry a squad of 11 or an M119 105mm howitzer with ammunition and a crew of four in one lift. Modern modifications of Black Hawk helicopters are equipped with advanced avionics and electronics.
S-70i Black Hawk
S-70i Black Hawk is a Polish licensed version of the legendary U.S. UH-60 helicopter.
The base model S-70i does not carry any weapons. But the Battlehawk combat system can be installed on the helicopter with additional equipment for pilots and the entire suite of weapons: machine guns of various calibers, a 20 mm cannon, a laser-guided missile system, etc.
The helicopter has a digital flight control system, with four multifunctional displays for the crew. It can carry up to 13 passengers on board.
The armored cabin is able to withstand fire from small arms and high-explosive shells.
Manufacturer: PZL Mielec, Poland – Polish subsidiary of Sikorsky Aircraft.
- In service: since 2011
- Maximum take-off weight: 9.98 tons
- Weight: 5.37 tons
- Speed: 296 km/h
- Range: 578 km
- Body length: 10.17 m
- Screw diameter: 16.36 m
- Total length: 19.76 m
- Height: 2.66 m
- Width: 4.37 m (tail wings), 2.13 m (cabin)
- Two engines: 1,940 hp. each
- Crew: 2 people
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