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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 11 December, 2002, 11:00 GMT
Fact file: Black Hawk
Black Hawk

The Black Hawk is the US's most important combat helicopter, designed to move quickly into hostile environments and deliver or collect troops and armaments.

The basic model of the helicopter can also be adapted for medical evacuation or a purely offensive combat role. They can carry up to 12 people plus four crewmembers.

Black Hawks carry special pods on each side for specialist equipment, such as medical gear. The same space can be used to arm the aircraft with Hellfire anti-tank missiles.

Some versions of the helicopter can carry up to 9,000lbs of external equipment like all-terrain vehicles used by special forces.

Black Hawks can be launched from aircraft carriers and can fly for up to 1,000 nautical miles if fitted with additional fuel pods. But even when they have reached the end of their standard mission range, they can be refuelled in flight by air tankers.

The Black Hawk is heavily armoured so that it can deliver or evacuate personnel while under fire.

To defend itself, the helicopter has machine guns at side-windows and at the cabin doors. One version of the Black Hawk also has the ability to dispense small mines from the air.

Compartments and landing gear are fitted with shock-absorbers to protect personnel in the event of crash landings.

The first US military casualties of the war against the Taleban came when a Black Hawk crashed in Pakistan, killing two soldiers.

Black Hawk
Crew:Four
Main weapon:Can operate with Hellfire anti-tank missiles
Max speed:224 mph (361 kmh)
Length:19.51m (64 feet)
Width:16.4 m (53.8 feet)
Weight:9,930 kg (max)
Range:363 miles (584 km)






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