40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters on order
The US Defence Department is expediting the delivery of UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Australia, as a result of recent meetings between representatives from both nations earlier this month. Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles held discussions with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd J Austin III at the Pentagon on October 31, focusing on the United States-Australia alliance, the transfer of Black Hawks, and various foreign policy matters.
The Black Hawk helicopters are being introduced to replace Australia’s MRH-90 Taipan helicopters. This decision came after an MRH-90 helicopter crashed in Queensland during Exercise Talisman Sabre on July 28, leading to the grounding of the entire MRH-90 fleet.
US Secretary Austin expressed optimism about the future of the relationship, particularly in the realm of defence cooperation. He emphasized their shared vision for a free, open, and secure Indo-Pacific region and their determination to make that vision a reality.
Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further enhancing defence cooperation, including collaboration on defence technology, force posture initiatives, and the trilateral AUKUS partnership with the United Kingdom. They also celebrated recent announcements regarding the historic cooperation between Australia and Japan, exchanged views on shared security challenges, and discussed additional alliance initiatives to support a free and open Indo-Pacific. The two leaders also discussed the global security environment and shared their perspectives on the situations in Ukraine and the Middle East.
Earlier this year, three new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, manufactured in the US, were delivered to Australia for use by the Australian Army. Two of these helicopters, built by Lockheed Martin, were transported to RAAF Base Richmond in Sydney on July 30 via a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster transport plane. These two helicopters are part of the initial batch of a total of 40 Black Hawk helicopters ordered by the Australian Defence Force. A third UH-60M Black Hawk arrived on August 4, also transported via a US Air Force C-17, as confirmed by a Defence spokesperson.