UAE To Weaponize Black Hawks
On the first day of the IDEX exhibition in Abu Dhabi, the UAE announced that it is to upgrade 23 Black Hawk helicopters to an armed UH-60M standard. Worth over $270 million, the contract was placed with Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies, with the work to be performed mainly by AMMROC, a joint venture between ADAT and Sikorsky. The U.S. company also received a $17.6 million contract for UH-60 training.
The upgrade deal represents Sikorsky’s first success at selling its “AH-60 Battle Hawk” weaponization kit, which adds four weapon stations on shoulder-mounted stub wings. A similar version of the UH-60L was developed as the Arpia III aircraft for Colombia.
One weapon that is likely to arm the UH-60s is the Talon. Raytheon has partnered with UAE-based Emirates Advanced Instruments (EAI) to add a laser guidance package to a standard 70mm rocket. This creates a precision weapon with low collateral damage. The Talon was initially developed for the UAE’s AH-64D Apache force. It has undergone a series of successful tests in the UAE, fired from Apaches, and a final campaign is to be undertaken in May to validate the full production standard. Production of guidance systems will progressively transfer to EAI, although the seeker head will only be built by Raytheon. Talon was also demonstrated to the U.S. Army last December, fired from an OH-58D.