Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear took to Twitter early this morning to sadly announce that a deadly helicopter crash occurred at Fort Campbell.
We’ve got some tough news out of Fort Campbell, with early reports of a helicopter crash and fatalities are expected. @kystatepolice, @KentuckyEM and local officials are responding. We will share more information as available. Please pray for all those affected.
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) March 30, 2023
“We’ve got some tough news out of Fort Campbell, with early reports of a helicopter crash, and fatalities are expected,” the governor, Andy Beshear, said in a post on Twitter, adding that local authorities and emergency services were responding to the incident.
Two Black Hawk helicopters operated by the 101st Airborne Division were being flown by experienced Army aviators when they crashed in Trigg County around 10 pm on Wednesday, as reported by Fort Campbell’s public affairs office.
The command said that its primary concern is the well-being of the service members and their families and that the cause of the crash is being investigated.
“Please pray for all those affected,” Beshear said in the message.
A local radio report, sourced from Twitter, states that up to nine soldiers may have been killed.
The Army has stated that the Black Hawk is typically utilized in multiple roles in military operations, such as air assaults and medical evacuations. The police have now set a perimeter around the crash area for further investigation. They have not officially announced any number of injured or casualties just yet. A press conference is scheduled to be held later this morning.
The United States military has used Black Hawk helicopters since the mid-1980s. Developed by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, the Black Hawk was designed with advanced technology that served to improve the effectiveness of missions. As a result, it has become one of the most widely used and versatile helicopters in military service.
The HH-60 Black Hawk’s ability to operate in almost any environment makes it a popular choice for military and even civilian use. The civilian version is known as the “Firehawk” or Sikorsky S-70. Its advanced avionics, maneuverability, and speed make it ideal for rescue missions, military assault, and transportation. The multi-purpose bird is also used for medical evacuation and logistical support.
The Black Hawk helicopter has several advantages over other similar aircraft. Its twin-engine design enables it to survive the loss of one engine, providing generally excellent safety for aircrews and passengers. It also has a combat-proven airframe capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions.
One of the most significant advantages of the Black Hawk is its ability to be customized to meet specific mission requirements. Various types of equipment can be installed, such as armor, weapons systems, and electronic countermeasures. These modifications make it a precious asset for the special operation forces of the 160th SOAR (Special Operations Regiment).
According to manufacturer Lockheed Martin, over 4,000 Black Hawks have been delivered to military and civilian customers worldwide. In addition to the United States military, several countries, including Australia, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, have used the aircraft in their respective armed forces.
Not the First Time
As reported in Newsweek, this is hardly the first such deadly aviation accident at Fort Campbell. In the early summer of 1996, six members of the 101st Airborne Division were killed when two Black Hawks collided during what was referred to as a “demonstration exercise.” In 2015, two pilots died as a result of a helicopter crash at the post. Two years later, four more pilots were injured during training. In 2018 an Army AH-64E Apache helicopter crashed at a training area on Fort Campbell, killing both pilots.
The recent crash of the two Black Hawk helicopters in Kentucky highlights the inherent risks associated with military aviation. The United States military will undoubtedly investigate the incident thoroughly with the goal of preventing similar accidents in the future.
This is a developing story, and SOFREP will report more information as it becomes available.
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