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What is a Black Hawk and what does it do?

Made by Sikorsky, the UH-60 Black Hawk is one of the world’s most revered aircrafts.

As the US Army’s front-line multi-mission utility helicopter, the Black Hawk has been operational since 1978 and is used for air assault, air cavalry and aeromedical evacuation.

With multiple versions of the Black Hawk in service, the helicopter is considered the "workhorse" of army aviation and has accumulated more than nine million total fleet hours.

Known for its speed, lift and safety, there are more than 4,000 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in operation within more than 25 countries around the world.

Working on such an exciting aircraft is an incredibly rare and thrilling opportunity, so if you’re interested in becoming an aircraft engineer and want to learn about the UH-60 Black Hawk, read on to find out more Black Hawk helicopter facts...

Facts and stats about the UH-60 Black Hawk:


First deployed in 1978, the Black Hawk is now in its fourth decade of service.

It was originally developed to replace the Bell UH-1 Iroquois as the US Army’s tactical transport helicopter as a simple, robust and reliable utility helicopter system, and it has since performed admirably in a variety of missions, including air assault, air cavalry and aeromedical evacuation.

For nearly half a century, the Black Hawk has served remarkably as the primary medium lift, multi-role helicopter for the US Army – and it’s not ready to fly off into the sunset just yet.

In fact, over the years, the helicopter has been modified and upgraded to support evolving missions and roles, including mine laying, medical evacuation and special operations.

Today, the US Army continues to integrate emerging technology enhancements into the Black Hawk fleet to increase its performance, reliability, availability and maintainability.

What’s more, with planned major upgrades such as the Improved Turbine Engine on the horizon, the Black Hawk is set to be a key component of the US Army Aviation fleet until at least 2054.

What it’s used for 

The primary mission of the Black Hawk helicopter is as a troop carrier and logistical support aircraft. However, in addition, the helicopter can be configured to carry out medical evacuation, command-and-control, search-and-rescue, armed escort, electronic warfare and executive transport missions.

It is designed to carry 11 combat-loaded, air assault troops, and it is capable of moving a 105-millimeter howitzer and 30 rounds of ammunition.

Powered by two General Electric T700-GE-700 1622 shp turboshaft engines, the Black Hawk has a speed of 163 mph, making it a durable, versatile, high-performance helicopter that can be used for numerous applications and tasks.


The Black Hawk has low detectability and outstanding capabilities.

It has the ability to absorb high-impact velocities, and the fuel system is crash-resistant and self-sealing, whilst protective armour on the Black Hawk can withstand hits from 23mm shells, and both the pilot and co-pilot are provided with armour-protective seats.

It also has provisions for door mounting of two M60D 7.62mm machine guns on the M144 armament subsystem.

The Black Hawk has a cargo hook for external lift missions, and it can also accommodate additional missiles, supplies or personnel inside the cabin.

The main cabin can be cleared of troop seats for transportation of cargo, whilst additional features include a laser threat warning system, and (this is one of our favourite Black Hawk helicopter facts!) for operations in Arctic environments, the Black Hawk can even be fitted with landing skis.


The basic crew complement for the UH-60A is three: pilot, co-pilot and crew chief, and it has a maximum troop-carrying capacity of 20 lightly equipped personnel.

The Black Hawk UH-60A is equipped with troop accommodations for eight, which can be removed to accommodate four full-sized medical litters, or alternatively, the Black Hawk can transport 11 fully-equipped combat soldiers in an assault-ready configuration, or 14 in a maximum capacity situation.

Working on a Black Hawk

If you’re thinking about an aviation contract role, working on a Black Hawk could be the ideal role for you. In fact, for many mechanics, the opportunity to work on something as exciting as a Black Hawk is a dream job that can set you on the path for an exciting career in the future.

As with all our contract roles, you’ll be required to have an in-depth knowledge of the aircraft as well as previous experience as an aviation mechanic.

Generally, our clients like contractors to have a minimum of three years' experience, with 12 months experience on this particular aircraft, and you’ll also need to be up to date on aviation technologies.

Opportunities with M&E

From Germany to the Middle East, at M&E we have a wealth of opportunities for aviation contract workers all over the world.

We typically recruit for a range of aviation jobs, from sheet metal technicians to aircraft engineers – and thanks to the unrivalled opportunity to work on such a wide range of equipment, from Apaches, Chinooks and of course, Black Hawks, contractors have unbeatable potential for career development. 

To find out more about how we do things here at M&E, don’t miss this blog where you can meet our very own aviation expert Shannon.

Also, be sure to check out the exciting roles we are currently working on here, or contact us today for more Black Hawk helicopter facts and information and to discuss the next steps in your aviation career.

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