Six Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks have been ordered by the Força Aérea Portuguesa (FAP; Portuguese Air Force) to provide additional support to the country’s resources in fighting rural wildfires.
The FAP announced the deal on August 30, saying that delivery of the first two helicopters is scheduled for the first quarter of 2023. The contract was signed on August 12 through contracting company Arista Aviation Services LLC – a US-based firm which specialises in modernising surplus US Army Black Hawk helicopters – following approval by the Council of Ministers.
The contract includes the supply of material and tools, plus technical maintenance support until 2026 and training for six pilots and 21 mechanics. Approximately 81% of this acquisition is financed by community funds, through the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR). The Black Hawk will allow transport of a team of 12 firefighters and their equipment, with a water release of about 150 minutes. It has the capacity to lift and carry up to 2,950 litres of water per mission.