The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk is a medium-lift utility or assault helicopter used by over 20 nations. It is in service with the armies of Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brunei, the People's Republic of China, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Republic of China (Taiwan), and Turkey, but is best known as the primary utility and assault helicopter of the United States Army.
It can perform a wide array of missions, including air cavalry, electronic warfare, and aeromedical evacuation. In air assault operations it can move a squad of 11 combat troops and equipment or carry the 105-mm M102 howitzer, thirty rounds of ammunition, and a six-man crew. Alternatively, it can carry 2,600 pounds (1,170 kg) of cargo or sling load 9,000 pounds (4,050 kg) of cargo. The Black Hawk is equipped with advanced avionics and electronics, such as the global positioning system.
The HH-60 Pave Hawk is a highly modified version of the Black Hawk primarily designed to recover downed aircrew or other isolated personnel during war. Some versions, such as the Air Force MH-60G Pave Hawk and the United States Coast Guard HH-60J Jayhawk, are equipped with a rescue hoist with a 250 ft (75 m) cable that has a 600 lb (270 kg) lift capability, and a retractable in-flight refueling probe.
The Black Hawk was developed to meet a US Army requirement for a UH-1 Iroquois replacement in 1972. Three prototypes were constructed, the first flying in October 1974, and evaluated against a rival Boeing-Vertol design. The Black Hawk was selected for production and the UH-60B entered service with the US Army in 1979.
The United States Navy received the first navalised SH-60B Seahawks in 1983 and the SH-60F in 1988. The United States Air Force received the MH-60G Pave Hawk in 1982 while the United States Coast Guard received the HH-60J Jayhawk in 1992. The unit cost varies with the version. For example, the unit cost of the Army's UH-60L Black Hawk is $5.9 million while the unit cost of the Air Force MH-60G Pave Hawk is $10.2 million.
When firing the GAU minigun, voice communications in the cabin is greatly impaired. Alternative communications should be planned.