21 December 2011 - by Tony Osborne - Shepard Group
The first two of 15 UH-60M Black Hawks ordered by the Swedish Armed Forces have been delivered just 18 months after the aircraft were ordered.
The aircraft were flown to the Swedish Defence Material Administration's (FMV's) facility at Linköping on 19 December on board a USAF C-17. The FMV will now prepare the aircraft for entry into service and eventually operations in Afghanistan where they are expected be deployed by the second quarter of 2013.
Project managers involved in the programme believe the procurement of the Black Hawks, known in Sweden as the Hkp 16, maybe a world record in military helicopter procurement.
'Ask me again in the second quarter of 2013 but so far it has gone beyond our expectations. There are many reasons why it has gone so quickly. The staff at FMV that has worked incredibly hard and focused and co-operation with the armed forces and the US government has worked very well,' said Magnus Larsson, the Hkp 16 Project Manager.
'The Hkp 16 is a proven system with over 3,000 Black Hawk supplied to various customers around the world and our job is to facilitate for the Flight Safety Inspectorate to evaluate what the US aviation authorities have already approved,' added Larsson.
The Black Hawks have been ordered because of delays with the introduction of the NH90 into service, and the ongoing Swedish involvement with ISAF in Afghanistan which has demanded the use of medical evacuation helicopters in theatre.
Currently, that mission is being carried out by pair of heavily modified Super Pumas, known as Hkp 10Bs. The Black Hawks will take over from the Super Pumas in 2013.
The normal time from order to delivery for the UH-60M is 36 months, but the Swedish authorities were able to negotiate several early delivery slots with the final purchase contract signed in August 2011.