Air Methods unit United Rotorcraft has ordered five Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawks for delivery over the next seven to 18 months. The aircraft will be manufactured at Lockheed Martin’s PZL Mielec plant in Poland.
United Rotorcraft will convert the aircraft into Firehawk aerial firefighting aircraft. This conversion fits the helicopters with 1,000-gallon external belly water tanks and a retractable snorkel system that can refill the tank within 60 seconds. These modified aircraft also have the ability to transport up to 12 firefighters or to be outfitted with air ambulance and custom communications and navigation capabilities.
The order comes less than two weeks after Air Methods announced that Colorado’s Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) signed a contract with United Rotorcraft to deliver a Firehawk there in 2022. Thirteen Firehawks operated by Calfire, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, and the San Diego Fire Rescue Department are currently fighting fires in the Golden State, and five more Firehawks have been contracted for by customers there.
“The Firehawk is fast becoming one of the most powerful and effective aerial firefighting assets in California, attacking and extinguishing wildfires before they spread out of control,” said United Rotorcraft president Larry Alexandre.