FORT MCCOY, Wis. - Aircrews with the Wisconsin National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment, operated UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters Sept. 14 for a training operation at Fort McCoy.
Unit members regularly train at Fort McCoy and support training events at the installation each year.
According to the Army fact sheet for the Black Hawk, its mission is to provide air assault, general support, aeromedical evacuation, command and control, and special operations support to combat, stability and support operations.
The UH-60 is also the Army’s utility tactical transport helicopter. The versatile helicopter has enhanced the Army’s mobility due to dramatically improved troop capacity and cargo lift. Now in its fourth decade of service, the Black Hawk was developed due to the Army’s requirement in 1972 for a simple, robust and reliable utility helicopter to satisfy projected air-mobile requirements around the globe.
Named after the Native American war chief and leader of the Sauk tribe in the Midwest, Black Hawk, the first UH-60A was accepted by the Army in 1978 and entered service in 1979 with aviation components of the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions. Since then, the Black Hawk has accumulated over 9 million fleet hours, supporting Soldiers in every major contingency operation the Army has executed, including in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
The Army continues to integrate technology enhancements into the Black Hawk fleet.
“Developing and fielding an aircraft that has earned and maintained an extraordinary reputation of remarkable service supporting Soldiers over a full spectrum of military operations these past 40 years is the direct result of the incredible efforts of all the government and industry teammates who have supported the Black Hawk program throughout the history of the program,” said Col. Billy Jackson, program manager for Program Executive Office for Aviation’s Utility Helicopters Program Office.
Today, the UH-60 Black Hawk makes up the Army’s largest rotary wing fleet, with more than 2,100 airframes, according to the Army Program Executive Office for Aviation. As production of the most current H-60M model continues, the Army will divest its remaining UH-60A and L aircraft to be replaced by 760 UH-60Vs.
With multiple versions of the H-60 Black Hawk in service, the helicopter is considered the workhorse of Army aviation. Besides being the U.S. Army’s primary tactical transport helicopter, approximately 1,200 H-60s operate in 30 partner and allied nations.
“For nearly half a century, the Black Hawk has served remarkably as the primary medium-lift, multi-role helicopter for the U.S. Army. With planned major upgrades on the horizon, the platform will be a key component of the Army aviation fleet through 2054,” Army Program Executive Office for Aviation officials said.