US to accelerate UH-60M deliveries to Australia

When the decision was made to expedite the withdrawal of its MRH-90 Taipan helicopters, the Australian Army Aviation Corps (AAAC) was left with a significant capability gap, which was partly filled through expedited UH-60M deliveries, including the accelerated delivery of nine additional Black Hawks by March 2024.

This will provide Australia with a 12-strong UH-60M fleet for the remainder of 2024, which is double the number that was originally planned by that point. The US will accelerate the UH-60M deliveries to Australia by reprioritising the contracting timelines for the US Army’s existing planned Black Hawk procurement.

A UH-60M Black Hawk (A60-001) assigned to the AAAC's 6th Aviation Regiment takes off from Holsworthy Barracks in New South Wales on October 12, 2023.
A UH-60M Black Hawk (A60-001) assigned to the AAAC's 6th Aviation Regiment takes off from Holsworthy Barracks in New South Wales on October 12, 2023. Australian Department of Defence/Sgt Tristan Kennedy

Canberra ordered 40 UH-60Ms as part of its Project LAND 4507-1 requirement, with the first two being delivered to RAAF Base Richmond in New South Wales on July 30, 2023, by a USAF-operated C-17A Globemaster III (07-7179). These were subsequently transferred to Holsworthy Barracks in New South Wales, which is home to the AAAC’s 6th Aviation Regiment. The third UH-60M was delivered to RAAF Base Richmond on August 4, 2023.

The Black Hawks will be operated by the 6th Aviation Regiment at Holsworthy and by the Army Aviation Training Centre at Oakey in Queensland. The expedited delivery of new UH-60Ms to Australia means that service and support arrangements had to be revised. Canberra has therefore announced a string of support contracts for its Black Hawk, Apache Guardian and Chinook helicopters. These included a $340m contract to Lockheed Martin Australia for the integrated support and maintenance of the AAAC’s new UH-60M fleet. The firm will employ more than 200 aircraft maintenance engineers, logisticians and skilled aviation technicians over the next five years at Holsworthy, Oakey and Brisbane.