REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Security Assistance Command delivered three UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Mexico City, Mexico, this month through its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The helicopters will be used by the Navy Secretariat (SEMAR), which is responsible for the safety and security of Mexico's waters and coastlines.
The helicopter deliveries are part of the United States Merida Initiative Multi-Year Program. This program demonstrates the U.S. Government's commitment to work in partnership with governments in Mexico, the nations of Central America, Dominican Republic and Haiti to confront criminal organizations whose illicit actions undermine public safety, erode the rule of law, and threaten the national security of the United States.
During the last two years, USASAC delivered eight Bell 412 helicopters to the Government of Mexico in support of the Mexican National Defense Secretariat (SEDENA). The delivery of the three UH-60Ms completes all current helicopter requirements in support of Mexico's FMS Program under the Merida Initiative.
The Mexican government requested the Black Hawk helicopters through FMS channels in July 2009. The $110 million FMS case included aircraft production, aircraft re-configuration to meet customer's requirements, and aircraft support package. In response to the Mexican Navy's urgent need for the helicopters, U.S. Government agencies and organizations expedited the FMS process, acquisition, and aircraft configuration to ensure aircraft delivery by September 2011.
On Aug. 23, Rear Admiral Jorge Carlos Morales Gonzalez, Director of the Naval Aviation Department of the Mexican Navy, accepted the three UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters from U.S. Government representatives during a transfer ceremony at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Lakehurst, N.J., which was followed by the delivery to Mexico in September.
The successful and early delivery of the Black Hawks was made possible by a team work effort which included agencies and military organizations such as Aviation and Missile Command; Utility Helicopters Project Manager's Office; U.S. Northern Command; Mexico Office of Defense Coordination; Defense Security Cooperation Agency; Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation; U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center; Department of State and industry partner Sikorsky Aircraft corporation.
According to U.S. and Mexican officials, the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter was chosen for this program because of its reliability and reputation as the best utility helicopter in the world and will help ensure the mission success of SEMAR's counter-narcotics and counter-drug trafficking initiatives.