Sikorsky Aircraft received a contract modification on March 10 worth $525.3 million for 40 UH-60M Black Hawks. The batch comprises 38 being procured for the U.S. Army as Lot 44 of the service's MY IX multi-year procurement program. The other two represent the exercising of an option for two Foreign Military Sales aircraft for an unidentified customer. Managed by the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, the work is due to be performed by the Lockheed Martin-owned company by the end of June 2022.
The five-year MY IX program, the ninth such order covering H-60 helicopters for the Army, was awarded to Sikorsky in June 2017. Specifying 257 UH-60 medium-lift helicopters and HH-60M medevac versions, the initial deal was worth $3.8 billion, with options for up to 103 additional helicopters that would ultimately bring the value to $5.2 billion.
At the end of February, the H-60 production line received another boost when the Department of Defense ordered 12 more HH-60W combat rescue helicopters for the U.S. Air Force. The Lot 2 batch is the second low-rate initial production tranche to be ordered, with a value of more than $500 million.
The program of record covers 113 HH-60Ws to replace the aging HH-60G Pave Hawk. Initially known as the “Rescue Hawk,” the HH-60W has now received its official Air Force name of Jolly Green II. Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett announced the name at the Air Force Association (AFA) Air Warfare Symposium held in Orlando in late February.
At the time of the order, Sikorsky had flown seven HH-60Ws, of which two are with the Air Force trials unit at Duke Field, Eglin AFB, Florida. The initial goal is to meet Required Assets Available (RAA) criteria by the end of 2020.
In another DOD deal, announced on March 6, Boeing was awarded an $800 million contract by Naval Air Systems Command to procure long-lead materials associated with Lot 11 production of P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. This batch comprises 18 aircraft, of which eight are for the U.S. Navy. The remainder comprises six aircraft for the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) and four for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).
South Korea decided in June 2018 to order six Poseidons as a replacement for the Lockheed P-3CK Orions that serve with the ROKN’s 615 Squadron at Jeju air base, while New Zealand announced its intention to buy the P-8 in the following month. In RNZAF service the P-8 is expected to serve with No. 5 Squadron at Whenuapai, which currently flies P-3K Orions. Both nations placed their orders for P-8As in March 2019.