Sweden's first of 15 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters have been officially transferred to the nation's armed forces, ahead of the type's deployment to Afghanistan next year.

Pictured during a handover ceremony at Malmen air base on 17 January, the new aircraft will have the national designation HKP 16, and be flown by the Swedish Defence Forces Helicopter Wing.

 Swedish UH-60M front - Gunnar Åkerberg

Swedish UH-60M side - Gunnar Åkerberg

Both images © Gunnar Åkerberg

Operations in Afghanistan will commence during 2013, with the Black Hawks to replace Eurocopter AS332 Cougars in supporting Stockholm's contribution to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

Sweden is acquiring its UH-60Ms under an accelerated Foreign Military Sales deal signed with the USA last year.

Source: Flight International