The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of four Black Hawk helicopters to Latvia for an estimated sum of $200 million.
The sale of these UH-60 helicopters to Latvia will significantly increase its capability to provide troop lift, border security, anti-terrorist, medical evacuation, search and rescue, re-supply/external lift, and combat support in all weather. Latvia intends to use these helicopters to modernize its armed forces and expand its existing Army architecture in its efforts to provide multi-mission support in the region. Latvia will have no difficulty absorbing these helicopters into its armed forces.
This does not necessarily mean that Latvia will buy these helicopters. The approval is a necessary step before the negotiations can continue, and the actual deal could be for a smaller number or a lower sum.
But if Latvia actually buys Black Hawk helicopters, it will be a dramatic improvement for the country. At present the Latvian air force has few actual aircraft. They have one small An-2T transport biplane, one Mi-2 (Hoplite) helicopter, and four Mi-17 (Hip) helicopters.
The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk is a good helicopter with a proven history of service. In 2011, Sweden made a quick decision to buy Black Hawk helicopters because of endless delays with their new NH90 helicopters. Already two years later, Swedish Black Hawks were flying operationally in Afghanistan.