Sikorsky receives certification for S-70M to fight forest fires


Sikorsky has received a type certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration certifying that the S-70M Black Hawk helicopter design meets the applicable airworthiness requirements for the Restricted Category.

The type certificate allows Sikorsky to request authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to produce S-70M aircraft for use in the Restricted Category. This will enable the S-70M to be used in civilian market applications such as for external cargo, agriculture operations, and forest and wildlife conservation.

The S-70M is based on the UH-60M utility helicopter that Sikorsky has built since 2005 for the US Army, which has purchased more than 1,000 of the type for itself and international militaries.

Nathalie Previte, Sikorsky vice president, strategy and business development said, “We thank the FAA for issuing the type certificate for the S-70M, the third generation aircraft in the Black Hawk family.

“FAA type certification in the Restricted Category will be tremendously attractive to local government agencies, municipalities and commercial transport companies across the US, and even to some international operators, that want to acquire new Black Hawk helicopters direct from Sikorsky to accomplish specific tasks.”

Within the forest and wildlife conservation special purpose category, Restricted Category aircraft may drop water as part of an aerial firefighting operation. According to Sikorsky the company is increasingly receiving orders and inquiries from municipalities in California and other western states in the USA for the S-70 Firehawk, a modified Black Hawk that can fight wildland fires with a 1,000-gallon external water tank.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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