October 8, 2010: Sweden is buying 15 American UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters, four spare engines, defense electronic equipment and support equipment and services. This will cost about $37 million per aircraft. The helicopters will be used for medical evacuation and other support tasks for Swedish troops in Afghanistan. The Swedish force of about 400 is mainly engaged in reconstruction efforts.
Currently, the U.S. Army is introducing the M model of the Blackhawk. The last major upgrade of the Blackhawk before that was in the late 1980s, when the UH-60L was introduced. The M version will make the 11 ton UH-60 viable into the 2020s.
The UH-60M features several improvements, including 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 (which will fly the chopper if the pilot is injured and unable to), 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. It was only three years ago that the army finished testing the new M version of the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, and began mass production. Over 900 will be produced and the army has already received over a hundred.