The UH-60Q MEDEVAC helicopter provides significant enroute patient care enhancements. The UH-60Q is morphing into the HH-60L, it will incorporate a medical interior and an electric hoist, O2 generator, FLIR and an upgraded navigation package. Initial fielding and new equipment training has begun at Fort Hood.
The UH-60Q provides a 6 patient litter system, on-board oxygen generation, and a medical suction system. UH-60Q is a UH-60A derivative and incorporates approximate UH-60A characteristics. It is simply the best in aeromedical evacuation. Building on the BLACK HAWK's heritage of saving lives in Grenada, Panama, Kuwait and Somalia, the UH-60Q delivers exceptional patient care, increased survivability, longer range, greater speed and added missions capability. For military combatants. War victims. Civilians injured in natural disasters. It has a state-of-the-art medical interior that can accomodate a crew of three and up to six acute care patients. The UH-60Q's leading-edge technology incorporates an improved environmental control system. Cardiac monitoring systems. Oxygen generation, distribution and suction systems. Airway management capability. Provision for stowing IV solutions. And an external electrical rescue hoist. And in addition to extensive immediate care, the UH-60Q can perform all weather terrain battlefield evacuation, combat search and rescue, hospital ship lifeline missions, deep operations support, forward surgical team transport, medical logistics resupply, medical personnel movement, patient regulating, disaster/humanitarian relief, and MAST/HELP state support.
The UH-60Q's medical interior can accomodate three to six acute care patients and their medical attendants. Ergonomic design has maximized the UH-60Q cabin space, placing sophisticated, life-saving instruments and equipment at the fingertips of the medical attendants. A unique platform design allows the interior to transport either six litter of seven ambulatory systems, oxygen distribution and suction systems, airway management capability, and provisions for stowing intravenous solutions. The interior also features these additional capabilities, essentical to providing the highest degree of patient care when every second counts:
- Oxygen Generating Systems
- NVG Compatible Lighting Throughout
- Environmental Control System
- Medical Equipment
- Patient Monitoring Equipment
- Neonatal Isolettes
The UH-60Q communications architecture provides situational awareness and digital communications and is expected to be the model for anticipated fleet-wide improvements to the UH-60. Other improvements include integrated Doppler/GPS, Personnel Locator System, NVG interior lighting, and FLIR.
The UH-60Q is equipped with the most advanced Global Positioning System, Forward Looking Infrared Imaging System and Aircraft Mission Planning Systems," said Staff Sgt. Charles Bogus, test noncommissioned officer. Designed to operate in the most extreme environmental and tactical situations and provide en route trauma care, the Army is looking for the UH-60Q to provide dramatic improvements in mobility, survivability and medical treatment. Development of the UH-60Q began after the Gulf War, where UH-60A MEDEVAC Black Hawks operated in forward areas and Vietnam vintage UH-1V Huey helicopters worked further back. The Hueys were short on both speed and range and the Black Hawks lacked adequate medical equipment.
Internally, the air ambulance will have six litters that can be adjusted up or down according to a patient's need. Some other features include hands free medical communications equipment, on-board oxygen generator and suction system at each litter position and improved environmental controls. The helicopter will also support carry on equipment such as defibrillators and ventilators. Enhanced navigation and digital communication equipment has been configured to be on par with Army attack helicopters and special operations Black Hawks. While the crew chief will have sufficient training to help the medic, the UH-60Q will be able to carry flight surgeons.
Modernizing the Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) system is the Army Surgeon General's number one near term priority. The General Accounting Office identified the evacuation deficiency in its report to Congress in 1992. The Army Plan states, "Enhance the battlefield medical system by acquiring modern medical evacuation aircraft" Lessons learned from Operations Just Cause and Desert Storm showed a need for medical version of the UH-60. The UH-60Q was a TRADOC FY96-10 and FY97-11 "must have" Warfighting Lens Analysis solution in order to decrease risk, improve deployability, supportability and training of the force and ensure survivability of Early Entry/Dismounted Forces. Medical Evacuation was the Surgeon General's number one near-term medical modernization priority in the FY94-08, FY95-09, &FY96-10 Army Modernization Plan. CINC requests the replacement of UH-1 MEDEVAC aircraft with UH-60Q.
The UH-60Q is a modernization priority by the Army surgeon general. Because it is far closer to a civilian EMS helicopter in concept, this aircraft represents the Army's next step. Patient evacuation is the Army's number one medical readiness shortfall and the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) first priority. The AMEDD must be able to provide a seamless Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) system across the operational spectrum, including combat search and rescue, and shore-to-ship MEDEVAC. Ground and air evacuation platforms must have the capability to provide continuous MEDEVAC support in all environmental conditions as well as communicate with supported and supporting units.
The most critical shortfall and the AMEDD's top priority is to modernize aeromedical evacuation capabilities. Aeromedical evacuation capabilities are rated RED in the near and mid-terms due to the continued reliance on the UH-1V and an aging UH-60A fleet for aeromedical evacuation. Aeromedical evacuation capabilities are rated RED in the near and mid-terms because aeromedical evacuation units continue to use the obsolete UH-1V aircraft (assessed RED) and UH-60A aircraft (assessed AMBER - currently 75% of MEDEVAC UH-60A's are 10+ years old with 25% 15+ years old) that lack enhanced medical, navigation, and communications capabilities. Aeromedical evacuation capabilities can be expected to improve to AMBER in the far-term, only if the UH-60Q program is funded. The UH-60Q represents a Priority Capability Enabler (PCE) for the AMEDD as a derivative of the UH-60 Aviation PCE. The far-term air evacuation capability is rated AMBER based on total force pure fleet of UH-60's and Extended Planning Period (EPP) dollars programmed to modernize the Core Force UH-60As to the UH-60Q configuration.
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