Latvian Air Force receives two US Black Hawks
The US Air Force has delivered two UH-60M Black Hawk medium-lift utility helicopters to the Latvian Air Force, the NATO Allied Air Command announced.
The handover is part of a $200-million agreement for four UH-60Ms signed in 2018. The second tranche of choppers is slated for delivery by the end of 2023.
A US C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft carried the helicopters to Lielvārde Air Force Base in Rembate Parish in central Latvia.
Arriving partially dismantled, the UH-60Ms were transferred to an aircraft hangar for assembly. Both aircraft will undergo trials before operation with the Latvian military.
“This is a long-awaited addition to our military inventory, allowing the Air Force to reach a new level of capability with the new and modern Black Hawk helicopters and to strengthen interoperability with our Allies,” Latvian Air Force Commander Col. Viesturs Masulis stated during the handover.
Replacing Soviet Mi-17s
The Latvian Air Force ordered the four UH-60Ms in standard US configuration with furnished capabilities.
The fleet will replace the service’s existing Soviet-built Mi-17 helicopters, as parts for the older choppers were running out of stock.
Once they enter service, the UH-60Ms will be deployed for search and rescue missions and other related operations.
Latvian personnel have been training for future helicopter flight and maintenance since 2020.
“Five helicopter crews have already been trained and currently the former Mi-17 crews are undergoing conversion training in the US; the initial training phase has ended and we will start using the new helicopters as soon as the first ones are ready for flight,” Masulis said.