Procurement: More Black Hawks For Mexico


May 10, 2014: Mexico wants to buy 18 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters from the United States. These will cost $38 million each, which includes spares, accessories, maintenance equipment, training and tech support. These are not the first UH-60s in Mexico. Some were bought in the 1990s for use by commando. Between 2009 and 2011 the military bought some more and in 2010 the U.S. government gave three UH-60Ms to Mexico's federal police force as part of the Merida Initiative to combat drug cartels. The 18 UH-60Ms being sought now are for the military to use in its battle with the drug gangs.

All UH-60s are militarized versions (UH-60, HH-60, MH-60) of the Sikorsky S-70. The U.S. Army currently has over 2,000 UH-60s and is upgrading the force with the new "M" model. So far, about 4,000 UH-60s have been built and it has been a popular export item.

The UH-60 was introduced in 1979. In 2006 the U.S. Army introduced the "M" model, which featured several improvements. These included new rotor blades (more reliable, and provide 227 kg/500 pounds of additional lift), an all-electronic cockpit (putting all needed information on four full-color displays), an improved autopilot, improved flight controls (making flying easier, especially in stressful situations), a stronger fuselage, more efficient navigation system, better infrared suppression (making it harder for heat seeking missiles to hit), and more powerful engines. Before the M model, the last major upgrade had been in the late 1980s, with the UH-60L. The M version, which cost about $50 million each, fully equipped, will make the UH-60 viable into the 2020s.

The 11 ton UH-60M can carry 14 troops, or 1.1 tons of cargo internally, or four tons slung underneath. Cruise speed is 278 kilometers an hour. Max endurance is two hours, although most sorties last 90 minutes or less. Max altitude is 5,790 meters (19,000 feet).


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