TAIPEI, Taiwan — Aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky has been awarded a $135.4 million foreign military sales contract for 24 UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters for Taiwan’s Air Cavalry Brigades under the Aviation and Special Forces Command to replace ageing UH-1H Huey utility helicopters.

Taiwan ordered sixty Black Hawks in 2010 for $3.1 billion. The country currently has three Air Cavalry Brigades (601/602/603) outfitted with 29 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters, nine CH-47SD Chinook cargo helicopters and 61 AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters.

"All 60 of the basic aircraft are under contract," according to a Sikorsky source. "This most recent contract is for completion work, adding options and the stuff different from the USA. We’ll eventually have one more to do completion work on the final six heavy SAR [search and rescue] aircraft for the NASC [National Airborne Service Corps]."

The NASC is responsible for domestic SAR operations for use in a variety of emergency contingencies. Taiwan is a heavily mountainous area prone to earthquakes and typhoons. Taiwan's air force also has SAR helicopters available for emergency scenarios; these include 12 Sikorsky S-70 utility helicopters and three Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma SAR helicopters.