The US Army’s Utility Helicopters Project Office has completed the initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) of the latest variant of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Fort McCoy.
The UH-60V (Victor) is an upgraded variant of the legacy UH-60L with a digital glass cockpit and integrated avionics suite. The helicopter performed IOT&E a year after the Army began fielding the type in July last year.
As explained by the service, the purpose of the test and evaluation is to demonstrate and assess the degree to which the aircraft meets its designated requirements and set the conditions for the full rate production point.
The IOT&E began July 5 and during three weeks of preliminary testing, pilots flew more than 120 hours with five UH-60V helicopters under realistic battlefield conditions.
Record testing took place July 28 – Aug. 5 and concluded with the aircraft accumulating over 200 flight hours, demonstrating the model’s capabilities.
The completion of IOT&E is a crucial step for the UH-60V program on the pathway to full rate production.
The upgraded cockpit of the UH-60V increases a pilot’s situational awareness while reducing the pilot work load, resulting in a more capable and safer aviation platform. The upgraded helicopter is the first Army aircraft to implement open architecture, a critical element of the Future Vertical Lift Ecosystem.
“This successful IOT&E allows the Army to make an informed decision on transitioning the UH-60V to full-rate production,” said UH-60V Product Manager Lt. Col. Howard Swanson. “The UH-60V recapitalized the combat proven UH-60L, applying the latest information and technology enhancements making it “UH-60M Like” to support the warfighter.“
The Army plans to convert 760 legacy UH-60L Black Hawks to the modernized UH-60V and they will remain part of the Black Hawk enduring fleet well into the future.
The Operational Test Command Operational Test Report is expected to be released in 30 days and the Army Test and Evaluation Command Operational Evaluation Report is expected to be released in December this year.