Brazil Buys UH-60L Black Hawks
Brazil relies heavily on Bell Helicopter and Eurocopter models for its armed forces, and a billion-dollar deal with Eurocopter made the Eurocopter EC725 Cougar Brazil’s standard medium helicopter across all 3 services. Nonetheless, a modified S-70 variant of Sikorsky’s HH-60 “Pave Hawk” search and rescue (SAR) helicopter seems to be carving out its own niche in Brazil.
Flown out of Manaus by the Army Avicao do Exercito’s Falcao Negro squadron, and by the Forca Aerea Brazileira’s 7/8 “Harpia” air group, Brazilian S-70 and H-60L helicopters are used in Amazon basin SAR (search and rescue) operations, humanitarian relief, and anti-drug efforts. US DSCA requests to buy more were submitted in 2007 and 2008. They aren’t the same thing as signed contracts, but now additional helicopters are being bought, and delivered.
Contracts and Key Events
Sept 6/12: +1? Sikorsky in Stratford, CT receives a $10.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification “to procure aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force in support of Foreign Military Sales.” Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Feb 28/14. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL on behalf of their Foreign Military Sale client (DAAH23-02-D-0006).
That contract number may be a typo (D instead of C).
March 1/11: Arrival. Brazil’s Panther Squadron (5th/8th GAv), based at Santa Maria Air Base near the Uruguayan border to the south, celebrates the arrival of the first 2 of 8 new UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters that will replace existing UH-1 Hueys. The squadron has been preparing since April 2009, working with the Harpia Squadron based in Manaus (AM) and with the US Air National Guard in the United States. Brazilian FAB [in Portuguese]
Sept 14/09: +6. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $73.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for 6 more UH-60L Black Hawk Helicopters configured for the Brazilian Air Force (FMS Case BR-B-UUC). The order will include associated publications and aircraft warranties.
Work is to be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Feb 28/10. Brazil had already made its selection, so one bid was solicited with one bid received by U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM Contracting Center, CCAM-BH-A at Red Stone Arsenal, AL (DAAH23-02-C-0006).
June 11/09: +4. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT receives a $60.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for 4 UH-60L aircraft uniquely configured of the Brazilian Air Force (FMS Case BR-B-UTZ). Work is to be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Nov 30/12. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the US Army Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Center at Redstone Arsenal, AL (DAAH23-02-C-0006).
Oct 2/08: Brazil’s Air Force reports [Portuguese] receipt of 6 Black Hawk helicopters with extended range fuel tanks and advanced sensors. The helicopters were delivered to the 7/8 aviation group “Harpias” at Manaus.
This would seem to close out the June 29/07 DSCA request.
Sept 29/08: The US DSCA announces [PDF] Brazil’s formal request to buy up to 15 UH-60L helicopters with 30 T-700-GE-701C engines, 2 spare T-700-GE-701C engines, external and internal fuel tanks, warranty, internal and external hoist kits, weather radar, spare and repair parts, tools and support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, contractor engineering and technical support services and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $525 million.
This is additive to the June 2007 request, though at this point, that request has not been yet followed by a Sikorsky release, or a DefenseLINK contract announcement.
The principal contractors will be: Sikorsky Aircraft (United Technologies) Corporation of Stratford, CT and General Electric Engines of Lynn, MA. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale, and implementation will require the assignment of two contractor representatives to Brazil for a period of up to 2 years.
Request: 15 more UH-60Ls
April 1/08: A Sikorsky release identifies Brazil’s S-70s as HH-60 Pave Hawk equivalents. The Pave Hawk is a more expensive special forces and search and rescue variant of the basic Black Hawk helicopter, with an air-air refueling boom and additional equipment. See: “Hope During Bolivian Floods: BLACK HAWK Helicopters Lent Recent Support and Are Familiar Sight in Latin America”
June 29/07: The US DSCA has announced this request [PDF format]; it involves 6 UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters (UH-60M is the new variant, but these UH-60L helicopters will also be new-build) with 12 T-700-GE-701C engines, 2 spare T-700-GE-701C engines, warranties, external hoist kits, spare and repair parts, tools and support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, contractor engineering and technical support services and other related elements of logistics support.
The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $300 million; and the contractors will be United Technologies subsidiary Sikorsky Aircraft of Stratford, CT and General Electric Engines of Lynn, MA. There are no proposed industrial offsets, and implementation of this proposed sale may require the assignment of 2 contractor representatives to Brazil for a period of up to 2 years.
The are also rumors that Brazil’s Navy is looking at a purchase of SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, and that does in fact happen later. Hopefully, at some point Brazil’s armed forces will pool their Black Hawk support infrastructure, or set up a center of excellence.
Request: 6 UH-60Ls