Polish made Black Hawk helicopters in the Colombian Army. Featuring advanced avionics.

Sikorsky Aircraft has announced (a bit late) that it has passed another two S-70i Black Hawk helicopters to the Colombian Army.

The S-70i version of Black Hawk is being produced in PZL Mielec works in Poland. Beside Colombians the Polish made choppers are used by Saudi Arabia, Armed Forces of Brunei and Mexican Police. What is more the Mielec works also supplies parts for the Black Hawks that are to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The latest two choppers differ from the earlier deliveries. They have new avionics system.

The helicopters have been taken on charge on Aug. 13, 2013 in Sikorsky West Palm Beach factory in Florida. Later they flew a 30 hour trip t0 Tolemaida AB in Colombia, covering a distance of approximately 5,560 km.

The peculiar feature of the chopper is the HTAWS (Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System) that was developed by Sikorsky in collaboration with Sandel Avionics.

It is similar to TAWS that is present in the fixed-wing aircraft, but at the same time it is adapted to the peculiar features of helicopter flying. The HTAWS works together with the GPS and INS (Inertial Navigation System) navigation systems, digital maps, radar altimeter, heading indicator and air data computer. This allows the HTAWS to provide very accurate data about the position of the chopper, along with e.g. positions of the electric power transmission lines, roads, terrain etc. Voice alerts are provided to warn the pilots.

The system features four sensitivity modes — Normal, Low, Tactical, and Obstacles Only. The last one reduces the number of false alerts in low altitude operations.

Colombia uses seven S-70i along with 96 UH-60L choppers that make it one of the largest Black Hawk Operators.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

Image Credit: Sikorsky


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About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.