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Portugal buys UH-60 Black Hawks for firefighting ops

Photo: Portugal defense ministry

The Portuguese Air Force has acquired six Sikorski-built UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to boost its capability to fight wildfires.

Portugal’s defense ministry said the contract for the acquisition of the new helicopters was signed on August 12 with Arista Aviation Services, a company specializing in the conversion of Black Hawks.

The contract includes the supply of material and tools, technical maintenance support until 2026 and training for six pilots and 21 mechanics.

Portugal expects to receive the first two helicopters in the 1st quarter of 2023.

The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter will allow the transport of a team of 12 firefighters and their equipment, with an autonomy, with water release, of about 150 minutes. It has the capacity to carry up to 2,950 liters of water per drop.

Once delivered, the Black Hawks will complement Portugal’s fleet of five single-engine AW119MK II (Koala) helicopters the country received from Italy’s Leonardo under a contract from 2018.