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The Blackhawk    

Australian Army Blackhawk carrying out a troop insertion in the Northern Territory

The Blackhawk S70A-9

The Blackhawk S70A-9 is derived from the US Army's principal battlefield mobility helicopter, the UH60 Black Hawk.

Made by Sikorsky, the company founded by Igor Sikorsky, inventor of the world's first helicopter, Australia procured the Blackhawk to provide the Army with a high level of battlefield mobility.

The Blackhawk is faster and more manoeuvrable than the Iroquois, the old workhorse whose rhythmically thumping blades were, for many, synonymous with the Vietnam conflict.

The Blackhawk can carry a full infantry section of 10 compared to the Iroquois' seven man payload while its twin T700-GE-701A turbo shaft engines can push the Blackhawk along at 269 km/h.

Even with one engine out, it can cruise at 117km/h.

Not only does it have the advantage of twin motors, the Blackhawk provides much greater safety as every essential flying system, such as hydraulic and fuel lines, has a back-up.

The Blackhawk is a multi-role aircraft. Ideally suited to its primary role of providing straight air mobility, the Blackhawk can provide a significant stores lift capacity, carrying items either inside or slung below the aircraft as well as, when required, playing a vital role in community support tasks such as search and rescue and the provision of flood relief.

Another feature of the Blackhawk is its sophisticated avionics package that significantly improves the craft's long range and night navigation capabilities.

This is particularly useful in Australia where forces need to deploy, both day and night, over vast distances.

The Blackhawks are operated by the Australian Army Aviation Corps and are based at Townsville, Queensland.



2 pilots, 2 aircrew

Radius of Action

120 nautical miles on internal fuel. Can be fitted with up to 4 external fuel pods to extend range

Cruise Speed

120 knots


10 fully equipped soldiers

Internal load cap.


External load cap.



Two General Electric T700-701A


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces