The US State Department cleared a second and third foreign military sale of Blackhawk Helicopters this week, with the announcement on 29 May 2024, granting approval for Austria and Sweden to buy 12 of the rotorcraft each, and a decision on 24 May to permit Brazil to buy 12 units for its air force. 

Both potential sales are with Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky with Austria’s contract valued at $1.05bn (€1bn), and Sweden’s contract valued at $900m (Skr9.5bn). Neither sale is expected to affect US readiness or influence the military balance in the region. 

The sales are approved as supporting US foreign policy and national security objectives, and contribute to supporting US allies in deterring future threats while improving interoperability with US forces and their partners. 

The difference between contract values is not explained by the quantity of aircraft or other Major Defence Equipment (MDE) systems, but may reflect the wide array of additional systems purchased by Austria. 

While both countries ordered the same number of Blackhawk helicopters, Sweden intends to buy 30 T700-GE-701D engines, with 24 installed and 6 spares, whereas Austria will buy only 26 engines. Sweden is also buying more AN/AAR-57 Counter Missile Warning Systems (CMWS), purchasing 17 units, compared to Austria’s 15.

The only MDE systems listed for Austria that is not referenced in the announcement of the potential foreign military sale to Sweden, the first is an order of 30 764U Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation (EGI) with country-unique selective availability anti-spoofing modules (or Future M-Code replacement) as a counter-electronic warfare measure.

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There are various other capability improvements recognised in the FMS to Austria relating to its hoisting operations that are non-MDE, with a dual patient litter system (DPLS), a cargo hook scale, sling load observation unit, Bambi bucket provisions. Both Austria and Sweden would also receive the Fast Rope Extraction System. 

The armour systems between the two sales also differ, with Sweden purchasing the Enhanced Ballistic Armour Protection Systems (EBAPS), in contrast to Austria’s Ballistic Armour Protection Systems (BAPS).