Latvia could advance its armed forces modernisation programme via a four-aircraft purchase of Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters, after the US Department of State gave its approval to a potential deal.

Worth up to $200 million, the potential Foreign Military Sales deal was outlined by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency in a 3 August notification. In addition to the GE Aviation T700-701D-engined aircraft, this would also include mission equipment and personnel training services, it says.

According to the DSCA, the rotorcraft would significantly increase Latvia's "capability to provide troop-lift, border security, anti-terrorist, medical evacuation, search and rescue, re-supply/external lift, and combat support in all weather".

Flight Fleets Analyzer records the Latvian air force as currently operating four Mil Mi-8/17 helicopters for search and rescue tasks, with these aged between 27 and 29 years.