Called Into Combat

Called Into Combat
October 11, 2018

Called Into Combat

Did You Know? Operation Urgent Fury was the first time a UH-60A was used in a combat mission

In October 1983, the U.S. Army received orders to provide immediate military intervention to the small Caribbean island nation of Grenada located 70 miles off the coast of Venezuela. This invasion, known as Operation Urgent Fury, was the first major operation conducted by the U.S. military since the Vietnam War and marked the beginning of UH-60 helicopter support against an enemy in combat.

The Army’s Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft Systems (UTTAS) requirements for a twin-engine successor to the Bell UH-1 “Huey,” demanded high performance, maneuverability, maintainability, reliability and survivability. During the Grenada operation, the newly introduced BLACK HAWK model to the Army fleet proved these required capabilities to be true, which in-turn provided protection to innocent lives, alleviated further chaos, and aimed to restore law, order, and government institutions to the island of Grenada.

Throughout the operation, 10 Black Hawk helicopters sustained battle damage, and only one was destroyed. The Sikorsky Engineering Report (SER) that assessed battle damage to the aircrafts involved in the operation stated, “The UH-60A has been designed to tolerate hits from small arms projectiles on most flight-essential components. The examination of just two aircraft, coupled with a review of the references, seems to confirm that the early attention to survivability has paid off.”

Operation Urgent Fury proved that the Black Hawk helicopter was a battle-worthy machine and confirmed it was a move in the right direction for increased mission capability. Throughout the last four decades, the Black Hawk has proven itself, flying in and out of countless combat zones and natural disaster areas to save lives and deliver critical supplies. Today, more than 4,000 Black Hawks are in service, providing vital military and commercial aviation support to the U.S. and 30 other countries around the world.

In 2018, the Black Hawk turns 40!

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