Following the announcement of an order for two S-70i Black Hawks from the Colombian Army on April 10, 2013, both aircraft left the USA for Colombia on August 29.
After being built by Sikorsky’s PZL Mielec facility in Poland, the pair were shipped to the Sikorsky plant in Connecticut then ferried by Colombian Army crews to the troubled South American state. A total of 56 (comprising 49 UH-60 and 7 S-70i) of differing versions have now been delivered to the Colombian Army, making it the most numerous aircraft in its inventory.
These last two helicopters complete an order for nine, delivered in three separate batches. The first five were flown from Sikorsky’s Stratford facility in Connecticut to Colombia during January 2013 on a delivery flight lasting 21 days. All five were officially accepted into service on February 11, 2013, while another pair of S-70i Black Hawks arrived by sea, on March 2, 2013.
On January 30, 2013 it was announced by Sikorsky Aerospace Services that the company will perform structural repairs on a total of seven damaged Colombian Army UH-60L Black Hawks. The work will be undertaken by the Sikorsky Depot Team, which is located at the Colombian Army Base in Tolemaida.
The most recent UH-60L Black Hawk loss took place on February 22, 2013 during anti-FARC operations, after mines exploded on a landing zone it was about to touch down. None of those aboard suffered serious injury as a result.
Santiago Rivas/Alan Warnes