US green lights Lithuanian UH-60M purchase

The US State Department has approved the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of six Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk medium-lift utility helicopters and related equipment to Lithuania.

Approval of the potential deal – worth US$380m – was announced in a media release from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on July 6, after it had notified the US Congress.

According to the DSCA, “Lithuania intends to use these [defence] articles and services to [modernise] and expand its armed forces to provide multi-mission support in its region and combat terrorism threats.”

UH-60M [US ANG/SA Crystal Housman] #1
A California Army National Guard-operated UH-60M Black Hawk - assigned to the 140th Aviation Regiment's 1st Assault Battalion - conducts its maiden flight at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, California, on May 24, 2018. US Air National Guard/Senior Airman Crystal Housman

Lithuania has requested to purchase six examples of the UH-60M, which will be delivered in a standard US government configuration. The deal also includes 14 GE Aviation T700-GE-701D turboshaft engines – 12 of which will be installed, with two spares.

The nation has also requested eight AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS), 12 M240H machine guns and eight TALON forward looking infrared radars (FLIR). It will also include aircraft spares/repairs, personnel training, technical documentation and associated ground, training and support equipment.

The DSCA adds that the sale of UH-60M “helicopters to Lithuania will significantly increase its capability to provide troop lift, border security, anti-terrorist, medical evacuation, search and rescue, re-supply/external lift [and] combat support in all weather. These UH-60 helicopters will allow for interoperability with US and NATO forces in rapid response to a variety of missions and quick positioning of troops with minimal helicopter assets.”

If the deal goes through, work to deliver the UH-60M to Lithuania will be conducted by Sikorsky at its facility in Stratford, Connecticut, and GE Aviation’s plant in Lynn, Massachusetts.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Defence (MoD) selected the UH-60M as its preferred platform to replace its ageing Mil Mi-8/-17 Hip transport helicopters in late 2019.