U.S. Army's Black Hawk Could Serve for 50 Years (or More)

U.S. Army's Black Hawk Could Serve for 50 Years (or More)
U.S. Army photo by Richard Bumgardner

The U.S. Army's primary medium lift helicopter was the result of lessons learned by the Army during the Vietnam War. While war in Southeast Asia validated the usefulness of helicopters in modern warfare, high helicopter and personnel losses led to a demand for a faster, better armored rotary-wing transport aircraft. The result was the now-iconic UH-60 “Black Hawk” helicopter.

The American involvement in Vietnam was the first large-scale use of helicopters to move troops and equipment on the battlefield. While helicopters were used in the Korean War and the French war in Algeria, U.S. forces used helicopters extensively in Vietnam. Units such as the Army's First Cavalry Division and 101st Airborne Division, along with Marine Corps units, conducted large, battalion-level troop movements with helicopters across South Vietnam to catch Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army units off-balance. Special forces units also used helicopters to insert far behind enemy lines as far as Laos and Cambodia.

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