Greece has submitted a formal request to purchase 49 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters as replacements for its Bell UH-1s, Flight Global revealed on Monday.
Athens launched the procurement process, which had not previously been revealed, in April, Sikorsky disclosed on 9 October, the first day of the Association of the US Army conference in Washington DC.
“An official request was received from Greece for the supply of up to 49 Black Hawk helicopters,” says Sikorsky president Paul Lemmo. “That is in process now by the Defence Cooperation office here in the US.”
The Hellenic Army currently operates 64 Bell UH-1 for utility lift missions.
Sikorsky confirmed to FlightGlobal that Greece has submitted a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) request for the UH-60 type, rather than pursuing a direct commercial sales (DCS) deal.
It will likely be years before Greece sees any of the new Black Hawks. Lemmo says there is approximately a three-year wait between finalized order contracts and first delivery.
“It depends on the specialization that they want in the aircraft,” the Sikorsky chief says. “Depending on the aircraft, sometimes we can accelerate that a little bit more.”
Named after the Native American war leader Black Hawk, the UH-60A entered service with the U.S. Army in 1979, to replace the Bell UH-1 Iroquois as the Army’s tactical transport helicopter.
This was followed by the fielding of electronic warfare and special operations variants of the Black Hawk. Improved UH-60L and UH-60M utility variants have also been developed. Modified versions have also been developed for the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. In addition to U.S. Army use, the UH-60 family has been exported to several nations.
Black Hawks have served in combat during conflicts in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and other areas in the Middle East.
Greece has been modernizing its armed forces in the past few years after the country’s economy recovered from the era of bailouts.
Last week the launching ceremony of the first frigate for Greece named “Kimon” took place in the Naval Group shipyard of Lorient, France.
The Kimon frigate, together with the “Nearchos” and “Formionas” frigates, “will spearhead the Greek Navy”, Defense Minister Nikos Dendias said.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed the ceremonial launch of the frigate in France.
Specifically, he wrote that “30 months ago I had pledged that the country would acquire the most modern vessels, the most efficient fighters – the most appropriate equipment overall.
“This is now becoming a reality with the new frigates and corvettes, the Romeo helicopters, the Rafale and the F16 Viper fighter jets, as with armored vehicles and new generation ammunition.”
The acquisition of Kimon frigate is a result of the deal that Greek officials and French manufacturers Naval Group, MBDA, and Thales reached in March 2022.
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