The Slovak air forces will soon be able to use the first two multi-purpose UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters that landed at the Prešov airport on June 26.
They were transported by ship from the US to the German port of Bremerhaven and from there moved to Slovakia by joint Slovak-US crews. The ceremonial handover will take place on July 6, the TASR newswire reported.
“Four crews were already trained to use the machines at facilities in the US, while the training for the others is still underway,” Slovak Defence Ministry’s spokesperson Danka Capáková said, as quoted by TASR.
A total of six crews are expected to be able to pilot the helicopters by the end of this year, she said.
The initial logistical support is secured by an agreement with the US partner and includes the delivery of ground equipment, spare parts and other materials.
“The promise is to secure, over the next two years, the initial package of spare parts for nine helicopters. The tools, technology for controlling and measuring, and portable workplaces for individual specialisations that are involved in the helicopters’ operation are also part of the contract,” Capáková said, as quoted by TASR.
The Black Hawk helicopters will replace the Mi-17 machines currently in use, whose lifespan is set to expire soon. The ministry will purchase a total of nine multipurpose helicopters for $261 million. The sale is completed via the US governmental programme Foreign Military Sales.
Another two Black Hawks are due to be supplied from the USA next year and another five in 2019, TASR reported.