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How Black Hawk Helicopters Work

        Science | Modern

Performance in Battle: Retaliation
Not only does it need to withstand bullet and rocket fire, it must also be equipped so that the crew can retaliate with ammunition.

Two gunners can be stationed to fire the helicopter's two 7.62-mm machine guns mounted in the cabin windows to return fire and provide protection for soldiers entering and exiting the vehicle during battle. It can also use Hellfire missiles if so equipped. Some types of Black Hawks, such as those used as medevacs, are typically not equipped with missiles. Medevacs carry pods containing medical supplies. The ESSS can also be outfitted with a 20-mm gun pod or a 30-mm chain gun.


Photo courtesy Department of Defense - Defense Visual Information Center
A UH-60 Black Hawk test fires an AGM-114A Hellfire tactical air-to-surface missile.

The Black Hawk is a product of the Vietnam War in as much as it was developed to address the weaknesses of Vietnam-era helicopters. In the next section, you will learn more about the Black Hawk's early development and how the U.S. military plans to keep it operable for another 20 years.

Recent Black Hawk Crashes
Date
Location
Killed/Injured
Details
1/2003
Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan
4 Americans killed
MH-60; Cause not clear, although some witnesses say they saw a rocket hit the helicopter.
2/2003
Kuwait (31 miles northwest of Kuwait City)
4 Americans killed
UH-60
3/2003
Fort Drum, NY
11 soldiers killed/2 injured
UH-60; Two Black Hawks experienced hard landings.
4/2003
Karbala, Iraq
7 Americans killed/4 injured
UH-60
5/2003
near Samara, Iraq
3 Americans killed/1 wounded
UH-60; Crash ruled an accident.
9/2003
Baghdad, Iraq
1 American killed/1 injured
UH-60
10/2003
Tikrit, Iraq
5 Americans injured
UH-60; Helicopter was apparently hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.
11/2003
Mosul, Iraq
17 Americans killed/5 injured
2 UH-60s collide after coming under fire.
11/2003
Tikrit, Iraq
6 Americans killed
UH-60
1/2004
southeast of Fallujah, Iraq
9 Americans killed
UH-60
2/2004
Queensland, Australia
6 Australian soldiers injured
S-70A; Hard landing


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