Two Black Hawk helicopters, donated by USA, presented at Pleso airbase

NEWS 25.05.2022 18:39
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Source: N1

Two multi-purpose Black Hawk (UH-60M) helicopters, donated to Croatia by the USA, were presented at the Pleso military airbase on Wednesday, with Defence Minister Mario Banozic participating in the first test flight.

The two Black Hawk helicopters and their equipment are valued at $138 million, with $53 million provided by the US government and $85 million by the Defence Ministry.

The helicopters will primarily be used to transport people and equipment. They can transport up to 11 passengers and two technical pilots.

They can develop a speed of up to 360 kilometres per hour, their ceiling altitude is six kilometres and the maximum flying distance 511 kilometres.

US envoy, Commanding General, Special Operations Command-Europe Major General David Tabor underscored that with the US donation, Croatia has strengthened its capabilities and security as a country and as a member of NATO.

After the test flight, Minister Banozic said that the helicopters are equipped with excellent equipment.

He said that the plan is for the other Black Hawks to arrive by the end of the year.

With regard to the training of Croatian pilots, Banozic said that “enough of them have undergone training until now” but he didn’t want to reveal how many.

He commented on the replacement of the Soviet-made Mi-8 and Mi-171 helicopter fleet whose resources expire in 2023, saying that talks were being held with the allies and partners regarding further steps.

Talking about the construction of hangars for the new equipment, Banozic said that infrastructure development was launched in 2021, however, problems occurred with the public procurement procedure and it had to be cancelled.

Two hangars are currently subject to public procurement procedure. They should be built in six months’ time after the procurement is signed, Banozic said, noting that two new hangars should be built by 2023.

Attending today’s presentation of the US military donation was also President and Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Zoran Milanovic.

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