MH-60K Black Hawk
The MH-60K Black Hawk is a special operations aircraft designed for long-range, low-level penetration of hostile territory at night and in adverse weather. The primary mission of the MH-60K is to conduct overt or covert infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of special operations forces across a wide range of environmental conditions. Secondary missions of the MH-60K include external load, CSAR and MEDEVAC operations. The MH-60K is capable of operating from fixed base facilities, remote sites, or ocean going vessels.
The MH-60K is a modified UH-60A with an advanced integrated cockpit, upgraded engines and transmissions, forward looking infrared (FLIR), terrain following/terrain avoidance (TF/TA) radar, additional internal fuel tanks, ATAS, external tank system (ETS), upgraded door guns, upgraded navigation and communication systems, integrated aviation support equipment (ASE), external rescue hoist, and a folding stabilizer. It has an air-refueling capability introduced on the US Air Force HH-60G/MH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters. It is capable of providing long-range airlifts far into hostile territory in adverse weather conditions.
Other modifications include the ability to fit 2 removable 230 gallon external fuel tanks, 2 .50 caliber machine guns and 2 7.62mm "Miniguns," an air-to-air refueling probe, and an external hoist. The .50 caliber machine guns were found to be unstable during firing from the MH-60K and had been removed from service after some use during Operation Desert Storm. The aircraft's avionics suite include interactive Multi-Function Displays (MFDs), Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR), digital map generator, and terrain avoidance/terrain following multi-mode radar. Survivability equipment includes radar and missile warning systems and IR jammers. The MH-60K has full shipboard operability. It is powered by two General Electric T700-GE-701C 1,843 shaft-horsepower turboshaft engines.
Fielding of the MH-60K began in FY94. The MH-60K was the first aircraft provided to the Army's 160th Aviation Regiment that had been specifically designed for special operations forces missions. The MH-60K had modified integrated avionics suites and multi-mode radar, and was intended to provide adverse-weather infiltration/exfiltration and support to US military forces, country teams, other agencies, and special activities. After 1995, the MH-60K's aircraft-survivability equipment and mission-equipment packages received further modifications.
The aircraft contributed to the Joint Vision 2010 concept of dominant maneuver by helping to create asymmetric advantages for combined application of land, air, and sea power against enemy defenses within the joint environment. They were eminently capable, as modernized, multi-mission platforms operating within tailor-to-task organizations, of supporting precise, agile, fast-moving joint operations.
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