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ROCAF S-70C retirement

Photo: A ROCAF S-70C-1. Stephan de Bruijn

 

The Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) retired its fleet of Sikorsky S-70C-1 Bluehawk and S-70C-6 Super Bluehawk helicopters by May 9. Employed in the search and rescue (SAR) and utility roles, the Taiwanese S-70s will be replaced by the UH-60M.

The Taiwanese government purchased ten S-70C-1As and four C-1s to replace the 1970s-era Bell HH-1H in the SAR role. Deliveries took place from June 1986. The four S-70C-1s were not fitted for SAR duties, but were delivered as utility helicopters. The S-70C-1As were fitted with the unique Sikorsky Stores Support System, capable of carrying four external fuel tanks. The Bluehawks were also equipped with a rescue hoist as well as and electronic location finder, a tactical air navigation (TACAN) antenna and advanced communication systems.

From April 1988 onwards, four additional all-weather SAR S-70C-6 Super Bluehawks were purchased (of which two were used as utility helicopters with leather seats in the main cabin).

The 18 Bluehawks were all based at Chiayi Air Base in the centre of western Taiwan and were all assigned to the Rescue Squadron, also known as the ‘Seagull Ambulance Team’. During their service, one of each variant was lost in accidents: on November 5, 1995 and March 26, 2012.

Beginning in December 2017, the ROCAF received 15 UH-60Ms originally planned for the Taiwanese Army transferred to ROCAF from December 2017. The last was due for handover in December 2018.

A ROCAF S-70C-6. Stephan de Bruijn

 

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