HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - 14 Black Hawk helicopters have been sent to Sweden. The 15th one was sent in late April, wrapping up the foreign military sales mission.
The Black Hawk is a very diverse aircraft that will fit the Swedish military's needs. Raymond Hayes, the Program Director for International Programs for the Utility Helicopter Project Office, describes the aircraft's capabilities.
"You can do air assaults, you can do MEDEVAC, search and rescue, you can do cargo and you can do sling loads."
In July of 2010, the country sent in a letter of request to buy the helicopters. After that, the Aviation and Missile Command developed the case and in January 2011, a contract was signed. Less than a year later, the first Black Hawk was delivered.
Hayes describes the quick turnaround, "Normally, our times are 18-36 months. We've been able to do this in a year to 18 months."
The push to roll the aircrafts out quickly was needed because of the Swedish military's deployment schedule.
"Sweden indicated in their letter that they must have their first helicopter by April 2012 so that they could start to train for deployment to Afghanistan."
That deployment is scheduled for Spring 2013. Right now, members of the Security Assistance Training Management Organization are over in Sweden, providing pilot and mechanical training in the Swedes new aircraft ahead of deployment.
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