Over the past 40 years, the remarkable multirole Black Hawk helicopter has navigated its way in and out of countless combat zones delivering and extracting troops, saving lives as a medical evacuation platform or evacuating casualties, delivering essential supplies to troops, delivering emergency supplies during disasters, and acting as an aerial firefighter and border patrolman.
The Black Hawk serves in the US military and the armed forces of 28 other countries around the world as a rugged and reliable utility helicopter.
More than 4,000 Black Hawks of all types are in service today around the world. The US military is the largest operator with 2,135 aircraft designated H-60. The same aircraft sold internationally directly by Sikorsky acquires the designation S-70.
One of the few military branches that does not use the iconic Black Hawk is the US Marine Corps. Why?
“The Marines don’t fly Black Hawks for several reasons”, Jonathan Bourbaformer US Marine Corps infantry rifleman, explains about Quora. “First, Marine Corps aircraft must be able to operate from a ship. The MV-22 Osprey and the CH-53E Super Stallion [and in the future the CH-53K King Stallion] are both huge, but are able to adapt to fit on a flight deck. Both planes are large, but they actually fold up for easy storage.
“Ospreys and Super Stallions also have a lot more cargo capacity than a Blackhawk. The Black Hawk can carry 11 loaded troops, the Osprey carries double that, the Super Stallion can carry 50 or 60 depending on layout As for weight, the Blackhawk can carry up to 9,000 pounds, the Osprey and Super Stallion carry 15,000 pounds and 36,000 pounds respectively. , it helps to be able to hoist vehicles such as Hummers, JLTVs and LAVs to shore via helicopter, and since we operate from a very small airport, all the birds have to be able to handle a lot of different jobs. We didn’t use Hueys very often the units I served with I flew about 2 I think I can’t tell you how many CH-53’s I’ve been on it was usually that or the CH-46, the Ospreys were still under development when I went out, so I couldn’t fly on it personally.
“The closest Marine Corps helicopters to the Black Hawk are the HMX-1s used to fly the President. Marine One birds belong to the Black Hawk family, but all VH-60 White Hawks will be retired and replaced with a new helicopter based on the Sikorsky S-92 in the near future.
Photo credit: US Army and US Marine Corps