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Australia puts Black Hawk helicopter fleet up for sale

Australian Army Black Hawk
Australian Army file photo of Black Hawk helicopters from 6th Aviation Regiment

The Australian defense ministry is planning to offer up to 27 Black Hawk helicopters for sale as it prepares to retire the helicopter type by December 2022.

According to a tender notice from last month, the potential sale is still subject to various US government and Australian defense ministry approvals.

In particular, the helicopters may be subject to the United States International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

The government noted it would prefer to sell all of the aircraft and the related equipment inventory to a single purchaser or as few purchasers as practicable.

6th Aviation Regiment Black Hawk helicopter during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019. Photo: Australian Army

Australia is replacing the Black Hawks with the NHIndustries MRH90 helicopters. The country is also in the process of acquiring up to 16 four-ton class helicopters under Project LAND 2097 Phase 4 that will replace the Black Hawk in the special operations support role.

Australia is selling the Black Hawks 33 years after receiving its first helicopter from Sikorsky’s facility in Connecticut in 1988. The other aircraft were built under license by Hawker-de Haviland in Sydney.

The helicopters are expected to be available for sale from July 2021 at the earliest. The last aircraft in the fleet is scheduled to be withdrawn from service in December 2022.