Survivability on the Island of Spice: The Development of the UH-60 Blackhawk and Its Baptism of Fire in Operation Urgent Fury
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
Pagination or Media Count:
In 1983 the UH-60 Blackhawk faced its baptism of fire during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. Ten Blackhawks sustained battle damage during the assault, and four were destroyed. This helicopter was the culmination of fourteen years of work that started in 1965. As survivability was one of the design criteria for the Blackhawk, this thesis looked at survivability in context of Operation Urgent Fury. In the end the Blackhawk s performance in Grenada was successful and the Blackhawk was a survivable aircraft in the materiel sense. That being said, the Blackhawk was not survivable when the Army operated outside its own doctrine, tactics, and procedures. Operation Urgent Fury exposed serious shortcomings with the concept of survivability as incorporated into the design of the Blackhawk. The issues of poor intelligence, poor planning, and poor execution contributed to the numerous hits from small arms and anti-aircraft fire that the Blackhawks received, and yet they continued to fly. However it is impossible for any aircraft to repeatedly fly into enemy fire and not take casualties or damage. This is why it is impossible and misleading to separate an aircraft s design for survivability from the doctrine, tactics, techniques, and situations in which it is used.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics