The first three US Army UH-60A/L Black Hawks to be upgraded to M standard have been given to Sikorsky Support Services for rebuilding.

Sikorsky was awarded a $220 million development deal in May that will lead to the upgrade of 1,200 UH-60s over 25 years. A new UH-60Mwill also be manufactured as part of the contract.

Rebuilt aircraft will have increased payload, digital cockpits, composite-spar wide-chord rotor blades and more powerful engines. The new blades provide 230kg (500lb) more lift than those on the UH-60L.

The rebuilt helicopters should have another 20 years life. Low rate initial production is due to start in 2004.

Source: Flight International