The first of six UH-60 Black Hawks, ordered by the Forca Aerea Portuguesa (Portuguese Air Force), has been delivered by US-based Arista Aviation.
It is the first time the company has contracted with a foreign government.
The helicopter has been fully customized to provide firefighting services in Portugal, by allowing the transport of 12 firefighters, equipment, and up to 780 gallons of water.
Steve Soler, Arista Program Manager and liaison with the Portuguese government on the contract, said: “The helicopter is an extremely versatile aircraft, allowing it to be used in a variety of military, government and private sector operations.
“Arista has taken these aircraft to the next level with instrumentation advancements and accessory upgrades, allowing the expansion of usability, and providing these workhorses second lives in many industries in addition to the firefighting mission of the six Black Hawks for Portugal, to include passenger and equipment transportation, police work, drug enforcement, air ambulance, traffic/weather reporting and high altitude observation.”
The contract includes the delivery of a total of six UH-60 Black Hawks over the course of the next three years, training for six pilots and 21 mechanics, and five years of onsite maintenance and logistical support.
“Through this partnership of companies, we are satisfying the requirements of the Portuguese Air Force for an aircraft to use to help fight their fires, train their pilots, and then train their maintenance personnel,” said Soler.