Brazil Receives Two New H-60L Black Hawk Helicopters

By Dialogo
March 10, 2011

The Panther Squadron, stationed at Brazil’s Santa Maria Air Base, celebrated the arrival of its first H-60L Black Hawk helicopters on 1 March. These new aircraft, of U.S. origin, left the Sikorsky plant in Elmira, New York, on 13 February.

According to the Brazilian Defense Ministry, the official ceremony incorporating the aircraft into the Brazilian fleet will take place sometime in March or April, with the presence of the Air Force commandant and other base military authorities.

Since April 2009, when the squadron was officially notified that they were designated to receive the Black Hawks, they have been working to prepare for them, training with the Harpy Squadron and the U.S. Air National Guard through various courses for pilots, mechanics, equipment operators, gunners, and rescue operations.

The replacement of the old H-1H helicopters, flown out of the base for almost forty years, will begin with these first two aircraft and will continue up to a total of eight. This new fleet will entail a variety of changes in the operations carried out by members of the Eighth Aviation Group, Fifth Squadron, which include humanitarian and search-and-rescue missions, such as those performed during the floods near Santa Maria, Agudo, and Toropi in 2010.

With these new helicopters, it will be possible to carry out maneuvers of this kind more safely and in adverse weather conditions.

In addition, tools such as night-vision goggles and terrain-avoidance navigation will be used more efficiently, since the aircraft is extremely reliable and maneuverable, the statement continues.

The characteristics of these aircraft include capacity for twelve people, including the pilot, if used for personnel transport, and for up to six stretchers, on another kind of mission. The H-60s have a base weight of 5,760 kilos, with a length of 19.76 meters and a height of 3.76 meters.

The shaft horsepower is 1662 SHP (continuous) / 1940 SHP (emergency), the maximum take-off weight is 9,980 kilos, and the average speed is 216 kilometers per hour. The maximum rescue hoist weight (rescue situation) is 270 kilos; the maximum cargo hook weight (for the external transport of radar or military equipment) is 4,080 kilos.

The aircraft are equipped for night flying and have a range of around three hours and forty minutes, depending on the take-off weight.