This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Army’s 1976 decision to select Sikorsky’s UH-60 Black Hawk as its next airborne tactical transporter of troops in battle. It’s a good thing the Black Hawk turned out to be versatile and reliable, because at the rate the Army is modernizing, it will probably still be in the fleet when 2050 rolls around. There’s a plan to replace thousands of Black Hawks in the Army and Navy with a “future vertical lift” system, but that isn’t likely to field new airframes until after 2030, and then at a relatively slow rate. So it’s a good idea to keep upgrading the helicopters with new digital technologies and other enhancements. However, the Army is so strapped for modernization funding that it actually cut money for helicopter upgrades in its fiscal 2017 budget request. Congress should work to replace lost funding in reviewing the budget request, because Black Hawk will probably be carrying soldiers into combat for decades to come. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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