Procurement: Only The Best Will Do

Archives

October 15, 2011: The Thai Army has ordered two American UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters, to replace two older UH-60s that were lost in accidents last July. Originally, Thailand wanted to buy three UH-60Ls. But that model went out of production four years ago, replaced by the more capable, and expensive, UH-60M. The Thais like the UH-60, but have never been able to buy as many as they wanted because of the expense.

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. The oldest model, the UH-60As, will continue to serve until the last of them is retired in 2025. By then, all UH-60s will be L or M models.

 The last major upgrade of the Black Hawk was in the late 1980s, when the UH-60L was introduced. The M version, which will cost about $40 million each, will make the UH-60 viable into the 2020s.

Four years ago, the Thai Navy bought six American MH-60S naval helicopters. Called the Knighthawk, the MH-60S is based on the UH-60 Blackhawk, and the first navalized version of that, the SH-60B Seahawk. This was the first export sale of the MH-60S, which entered service nine years ago. Currently, the U.S. Navy is using over 200 of them.

The MH-60S was designed to replace existing 11 ton, 1960s era, CH-46D helicopters. The ten ton MH-60S is superior to the older CH-46D in most ways (load, range, speed, reliability), but is smaller, so it can use the landing pads on destroyers and frigates. The navalized versions of the UH-60 are more expensive because of anti-corrosion features (salt water rusts unprotected metal and damages other components), more powerful engines, folding blades, a hoist system, more advanced electronics and numerous other changes.

 

 


Article Archive

Procurement: Current 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close