UPDATE — This story was updated to include additional information from the Army on savings expected as the result of the multi-year deal.
WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky unit won its 10th five-year contract worth $2.3 billion for 120 H-60 Mike-model Black Hawk utility helicopters with options for an additional 135 aircraft for both the Army and other customers through Foreign Military Sales, the Pentagon said.
Should all options be exercised, the contract could be worth a total of $4.4 billion, the Army said in a June 27 statement.
The Army told Defense News in a June 28 statement that it expects to save roughly $387 million — which equates to 14.5% — for the base quantity, when compared to total anticipated costs of carrying out the program through annual contracts.
Deliveries under the contract are set to begin in July and continue through 2027.
“This Multi-Year agreement allows the Army to meet current and future capability needs through upgrades, remanufacturing, replacement, and technology insertions,” said Col. Calvin Lane, the Army’s utility helicopters project manager, in the statement. “The efficiencies of this contract make the best use of limited resources and result in direct savings to the Army and to taxpayers.”
The Army and Sikorsky did not disclose how much savings would be generated through the five-year deal.
While the Army is gearing up to award a contract to either Bell or a Sikorsky-Boeing team to build the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft intended to replace the Black Hawk, the service has said the UH-60 will remain in the force for years to come and will be phased out slowly over time as FLRAA comes online in the 2030s.
Mike-model Black Hawks were first fielded in 2007. The Alpha-model was fielded in 1978. The M-model is the latest variant of the helicopter and provides additional capabilities such as increased situational awareness and more payload capacity.
Black Hawks are set to receive the Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program engine developed by General Electric Aviation as one upgrade that will keep the Army’s work horse flying for several more decades. The first engine is in government testing.
“Decades of Black Hawk production and enhancements, strong program execution and close partnership with the Army has kept the program thriving, and this contract is a testament to that success,” Nathalie Previte, vice president of Sikorsky’s Army and Air Force programs, said in the statement.
“Additionally, we continue to see strong international interest in the Black Hawk due to its versatility and proven record of providing unwavering support to the U.S. and nations around the globe,” she added.
Sikorsky is investing in the Black Hawk platform “from sustainment to digital transformation and modernization in order to provide our customers with the competitive edge they require,” Previte said. “We have aligned our investments with the Army’s technology roadmap, while leveraging Future Vertical Lift technologies to ensure the Black Hawk will be a key player in the Joint All-Domain Operations environment and FVL ecosystem.”
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College.