The Directorate of Intelligence published the photos online showing the unannounced delivery of the US-made helicopter.
After receiving the former British Sea King helicopters, it appears that Ukraine has now fielded another western helicopter: the US-made UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. In fact, the Directorate published on its Twitter account two photos showing the helicopter in a hangar on February 21, 2023. According to the caption, the helicopter is already flying in operational missions.
This delivery comes unannounced, as the UH-60 Black Hawk was not included in any of the aid packages and its supply to the Armed Forces of Ukraine was not mentioned by officials. It is not known where the helicopters were sourced. Last year, the United States said they would transfer to Ukraine the helicopters that formerly belonged to the Afghan government, but only explicitly mentioned the Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters and not the UH-60.
— Defence intelligence of Ukraine (@DI_Ukraine) February 21, 2023
However, Defence Blog was quick to notice that the Black Hawk, in addition to the Ukrainian flags and roundels, wears a peculiar livery. This livery was saw in the past on helicopters of the US firm Ace Aeronautics, which specializes in converting older Black Hawk helicopters divested by the U.S. Army for the civilian market. In fact, civilian UH-60s are now becoming a common sight for aerial works, external sling load operations and firefighting.
A possible explanation would be that the US government bought the helicopters back from Ace Aeronautics to expedite the deliveries, as they were already “sanitized” and all sensitive equipment was replaced by commercial systems. From the photos, the helicopter is in a basic configuration, without additional equipment. Crew served weapons for the gunners, warning sensors and countermeasures also appear to be missing.