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Austria receives first upgraded Black Hawk helicopter

Austrian Air Force S-70 Black Hawk helicopter
Photo: Austrian defense ministry

The Austrian defense ministry has taken delivery of the first upgraded S-70 Black Hawk helicopter which underwent the modifications in the United States.

Austria is upgrading its Black Hawks with new avionics systems under a $40 million contract with US-based ACE Aeronautics.

Modifications include a combination of the Garmin G5000H integrated flight deck and the Avalex Technologies cockpit management unit (CMU) alongside a digital mapping system.

Austrian defense minister Klaudia Tanner handed over the first modified S-70 to the Air Force in a ceremony at Brumowski Air Base in Langenlebarn on March 15.

The helicopter was ceremonially unveiled after ACE Aeronautics shipped it from its Alabama site in November last year. The helicopter was subsequently assembled in Austria before being officially unveiled.

Photo: Austrian defense ministry

“The modification of the proven Black Hawks represents a significant improvement. It ensures the helicopters’ availability for the next decades and allows us to provide even better airborne assistance in the future,” said defense minister Tanner.

In addition to upgrading the nine Black Hawks it currently has, Austria recently also purchased an additional three S-70 helicopters. They will receive the same equipment before being delivered to the Austrian Air Force in 2022, bringing the country’s S-70 fleet to 12 units.

In addition to the Black Hawks, Austria is buying 18 brand new light intermediate twin-engine AW169M helicopters from Italy’s Leonardo as replacement for the 50-year-old Alouette IIIs.

Austria is scheduled to receive the new AW169Ms between 2022 and 2024.