U.S. Approves $1.95B Deal for Greece to Acquire 35 Black Hawk Helicopters

Greece has officially received approval from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) for the purchase of 35 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the United States. The deal, worth $1.95 billion, is part of a broader agreement to upgrade and modernize the Greek Air Force's fleet of helicopters. The Black Hawk is a medium-lift utility helicopter that can perform various missions such as troop transport, medical evacuation, search and rescue, firefighting, and special operations. The UH-60M variant is the latest model of the Black Hawk, which features improved performance, survivability, and avionics.


The Greek Air Force currently operates 12 UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters, which were acquired from the United States in 1989. The UH-60A is an older version of the Black Hawk that has been used extensively in combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, the UH-60A has also faced some technical issues and maintenance problems over the years. The DSCA announced on December 17, 2023, that it had approved Greece's request for 35 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The FMS program allows the United States to sell defense equipment and services to foreign governments without requiring congressional approval.


According to a statement by DSCA spokesperson John Kirby, "This sale will enhance interoperability between Greece and its NATO allies and partners." Kirby also added that "The sale will also support Greece's efforts to modernize its air force capabilities." The delivery timeline for the 35 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters is estimated to be around three years from the finalization of the contract. The helicopters will be manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Connecticut and delivered to the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) in Athens for assembly and integration.

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The HAI will also provide training services for the Greek pilots and crews who will operate the new helicopters. The HAI has previously produced several variants of helicopters for Greece, such as the NH90 light combat helicopter and the NH90T transport helicopter. The acquisition of 35 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters will replace some of the older models that are currently in service with the Greek Air Force. The new helicopters will provide better capabilities and performance for various missions and scenarios. The deal with Greece is part of a larger effort by the United States to strengthen its defense ties with European allies amid rising tensions with Russia over Ukraine. In August 2022, Washington approved another $1.95 billion sale of 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Australia, which will replace its troubled MRH90 Taipan utility helicopters.


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