An Australian Army pilot from 6th Aviation Regiment walks toward a new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter at Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney. Credit Sgt. Tristan Kennedy

WASHINGTON — The US State Department today announced it has cleared a pair of potential UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter sales to Sweden and Austria.

The proposed packages are for 12 of the Sikorsky-made helicopters each. Sweden’s package comes with an estimated price tag of $900 million, while Austria’s is estimated at $1.05 billion, according to an announcement by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

Announcements posted on DSCA’s website are not final sales. Congress can still weigh in and oppose the sale, though that is unlikely here. More importantly, final quantities and dollar totals can shift during negotiations.

The difference in price between the two packages likely comes down to Austria’s request for a number of additional pieces and parts for its systems. For instance, Austria is seeking 30 “H-764U Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation (EGI) with country-unique selective availability anti-spoofing modules,” something that Sweden’s package does not include. Austria is also seeking a “very important person kit” and a USB charger, perhaps an indication these could be used to ferry VIPs around country.

Austria, a non-NATO member, currently operates what is designated the S-70A Black Hawk, which a government website says is “specially adapted to the needs for the Austrian Federal Armed Forces.” There are nine currently in service, with three more under order before today’s announcement.

Sweden, the newest member of NATO, currently operates 15 UH-60Ms, with the newest delivered in 2012. In November 2022, Stockholm cancelled its under-way procurement of the NHIndustries-produced NH90 maritime helicopter; it is not clear if the thinking is to use these new UH-60s to fill the gap left by that failed effort.

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