The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on 6 July that the State Department has approved a possible sale to Lithuania of 6 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and related equipment.
The potential deal is for 6 UH-60M Black Hawks,14 T700-GE-701D engines (12 installed and 2 spares), as well as other systems for an estimated cost of $380 million, the agency said in a statement, adding it served the interests of the United States and would help Lithuania maintain a credible defense.
“The proposed sale of these UH-60 helicopters to Lithuania will significantly increase its capability to provide troop lift, border security, anti-terrorist, medical evacuation, search and rescue, re-supply/external lift, combat support in all weather,” the statement said. “These UH-60 helicopters will allow for interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces in rapid response to a variety of missions and quick positioning of troops with minimal helicopter assets..“
The principal contractors will be Sikorsky Aircraft Company, Stratford, CT and General Electric Aircraft Company (GEAC) in Lynn, MA., the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.
The UH-60M Black Hawk 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.
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.
CORRECTION: Story corrected on July 6 to note that Lithuania will receive 6 Blackhawk helicopters.