The Royal Bahraini Air Force is working towards achieving full operational capability with its new Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters, eight of which were delivered in early September.

Formed at Riffa air base, the air force's 12 Sqn will operate the Black Hawks as replacements for the service's 11 Agusta/Bell AB212s. One of the type's main uses will be search and rescue operations at sea. The aircraft will be fitted with hoists with a lift capacity of 272kg (600lb), plus forward-looking infrared cameras with auto-tracker function.

Bahrain air force UH-60
 © Anno Gravemaker

A "mark on top" capability is also included, which will enable a pilot to keep position above a survivor by using the autopilot. Mission endurance can be extended to 6h by the addition of two external fuel tanks. Other tasks are likely to include supporting army units and special forces personnel and providing an airborne command and control capability.

Bahrain's ninth and last UH-60M is still in the USA, where it will be configured for VIP transport before entering use.

Source: Flight International