Lithuania plans to buy new UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters | World Defense

Lithuania plans to buy new UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters

Khafee

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Lithuania plans to buy new UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters
October 20, 2019

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UH-60L, front, and a UH-60M Black Hawk during an interagency coordination exercise at the Homeland Defense Technology Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., June 14, 2019. Photo by Mark Olsen

The Lithuanian Armed Force has taken a decision to start negotiations on the procurement of new helicopters to replace Soviet-made Mi-8.

The new utility helicopters are planned to be used for search and rescue operations and for the tasks of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Lithuania, according to a service news release.
“Currently the Lithuanian Armed Forces continues to use for its tasks three operational Soviet-made Mi-8 whose airworthiness deadline is very near, and three AS365 N3+ Dauphin helicopters that are mainly used for search and rescue operations and environmental protection surveillance in the territory of Lithuania. We have to change the remnant Mi-8 Soviet platform to a western technology for military tasks,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis says. He also underscores that the need of more modern western helicopters arose because the operating life of the Mi-8 will soon be over, their maintenance is expensive, constantly required, and a high-risk issue because of the complicated supply of spare parts from the Russian Federation.

A market analysis that was done according to the criteria formulated by the Lithuanian Armed Forces has revealed that the UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopter offered by the United States of America meets the demands in the most optimal way. Therefore, it has been agreed that negotiations with the U.S. Government on procurement of six UH-60 Black Hawks will be opened in the nearest while. The negotiations with U.S. Government concerning the helicopter procurement will begin in the nearest future, while the Letter of Offer and Acceptance is expected to be signed by the end of 2020. It is estimated that the first of the new UH-60M military utility helicopters will be delivered to the Lithuanian Armed Forces by the end of 2024.

The value of the UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopter procurement is approximately EUR 300 million. The U.S. Government is currently exploring options to potentially provide U.S. security assistance funds to this important procurement. “Direct acquisition of the capability from the U.S. government will supply Lithuania not only with a utility helicopter but also with a package of training, spare parts and necessary equipment. There is also a high probability that it will bring us additional financial support through the different U.S. security assistance funds,” R.Karoblis says.

The Lithuanian decision to progress to the western military helicopter platform is supported by the leadership of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. Adjutant General of Pennsylvania Maj Gen Anthony J. Carrelli says in a letter to the Minister of National Defence of Lithuania Raimundas Karoblis that the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, bound by 26 years of close partnership with the Lithuanian Armed Forces, is prepared to render expertise , share experience, and contribute to training for crews, pilots and maintainers of the prospective acquisition. “Our long-standing and intense cooperation with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and its future assistance will foster a better interoperability with the U.S. forces in exercises and international operations,” Vice Minister of National Defence G. Jeglinskas says.

The United States is Lithuania’s strategic partner and key ally for the security of the Baltic region. The two countries cooperate across a range of areas, including acquisitions. Another similar project underway and being agreed is the procurement of 200 JLTV armoured all-terrain vehicles from the U.S. Government for the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The United States, in its turn, made extensive investments to Lithuania’s military training areas and other infrastructure, training of Lithuania’s military personnel, and other areas, as part of its security assistance programs in Lithuania. In order to ensure sustainability of the cooperation activities and proper funding of long-term projects Lithuania and the U.S. have signed a cooperation plan in the beginning of this year.
 

Fafnir

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Only six UH-60 Black Hawks? Lithuania needs at least 24.
Why 24? Lithuania currently only has 3 Mi-8s and 3 AS565. The AS565 Panthers are new acquisitions from France and form the core of the Lithuanian Air Force's SAR capability. The UH-60 will provide heavy lift and SAR as well, supplanting the aging Mi-8s. Their acquisition doubles the current helicopter inventory of the Lithuanian Air Force.

As a whole the Lithuanian Air Force has just 14 aircraft, rotary and fixed wing and a mere 1000 personnel. It's budget and support infrastructure simply can't support 24 new aircraft.

...

NATO usually provides the bulk of deployable air forces for Lithuania's defence as part of its Baltic Air Policing mission and the eFP (enhanced forward presence) units of NATO's land forces bulk up the small Lithuanian army (alongside those of Estonia and Latvia). Norway for instance contributes heavily to both the Baltic Air Policing mission and NATO high readiness task unit component of the enhanced forward presence initiative. It routinely interdicts Russian aircraft transiting Baltic airspace with F-16s deployed in Lithuania.







On the ground Norway joins the United States, France, Germany, and Poland in providing bulk to the Lithuanian Army. The aircraft flying above the Norwegian Leopard 2A4NOs is one of just 3 L-39 light attack aircraft the Lithuanian Air Force has.



German armor supporting Lithuanian ground troops.


Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 provides naval support to the Lithuanian Navy. Shown here are KNM Roald Amundsen and HNLMS Evertson assigned to Klaipeda, Lithuania as part of a routine rotation.





Lithuania simply can't afford 24 new helicopters. It doesn't have the funds, support infrastructure, crews or need for that many aircraft, let alone utility models.
 
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Lieutenant

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Why 24? Lithuania currently only has 3 Mi-8s and 3 AS565. The AS565 Panthers are new acquisitions from France and form the core of the Lithuanian Air Force's SAR capability. The UH-60 will provide heavy lift and SAR as well, supplanting the aging Mi-8s. Their acquisition doubles the current helicopter inventory of the Lithuanian Air Force.

As a whole the Lithuanian Air Force has just 14 aircraft, rotary and fixed wing and a mere 1000 personnel. It's budget and support infrastructure simply can't support 24 new aircraft.

...

NATO usually provides the bulk of deployable air forces for Lithuania's defence as part of its Baltic Air Policing mission and the eFP (enhanced forward presence) units of NATO's land forces bulk up the small Lithuanian army (alongside those of Estonia and Latvia). Norway for instance contributes heavily to both the Baltic Air Policing mission and NATO high readiness task unit component of the enhanced forward presence initiative. It routinely interdicts Russian aircraft transiting Baltic airspace with F-16s deployed in Lithuania.







On the ground Norway joins the United States, France, Germany, and Poland in providing bulk to the Lithuanian Army. The aircraft flying above the Norwegian Leopard 2A4NOs is one of just 3 L-39 light attack aircraft the Lithuanian Air Force has.



German armor supporting Lithuanian ground troops.


Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 provides naval support to the Lithuanian Navy. Shown here are KNM Roald Amundsen and HNLMS Evertson assigned to Klaipeda, Lithuania as part of a routine rotation.





Lithuania simply can't afford 24 new helicopters. It doesn't have the funds, support infrastructure, crews or need for that many aircraft, let alone utility models.
Thanks for the detailed input of yours. My statement was merely from a militarily point of view considering the regional status quo. How is Lithuania going to utilize the black hawk if a conflict were to break? A ground attack? air assault? logistics? medical evacuation? c and c? Or troop transport? Poland, Belarus and Latvia still need to fill some gaps within their military arsenal. Will NATO b able to provide support for all at once?
 
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