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USA approves possible Croatian Black Hawk sale

Croatia is closer to the acquisition of a pair of Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters after the US State Department gave its blessing to the possible deal.

Still to be finalised, the purchase also includes nine GE Aviation T700 engines, communications and navigation equipment, and logistical support.

To be acquired under the USA’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) mechanism, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency values the total package at $115 million.

Zagreb could soon be joined by another Black Hawk operator in Eastern Europe after Lithuania indicated its intention to acquire six UH-60Ms via FMS.

Vilnius selected the Sikorsky type in mid-October after a market analysis concluded it was the "optimum" aircraft and it intends to begin negotiations with the USA shortly, with the intention of signing a firm contract next year; deliveries under the $300 million acquisition are due to begin in 2024.

The new helicopters will replaced ageing Mil Mi-8s, says the Lithuanian defence ministry.