10 March 2015 army-technology.com
Sikorsky Aircraft is reportedly set to install Battlehawk kits on the UAE Armed Force's UH-60M Black Hawk multi-mission helicopters.
The company received a $270.5m contract in February 2011 to upgrade 23 of 70 UH-60M helicopters with Battlehawk kits, DefenseNews reported.
Sikorsky Aircraft Sales vice-president Robert Kokorda said the UAE-funded programme for the kit production to weaponise Black Hawks is currently in the final stages of development.
Kokorda said: "We have been underway now for a couple of years and it's going along well, where we are working to finalise the different configurations that the UAE want on the aircraft and are in the testing phase."
Certification of the UAE-mandated weapons kit will be completed after the test-firing programme is finalised.
Comprising guided weapons and optical and laser-guided anti-armour missiles such as Hellfire and laser-guided rockets, the Battlehawk kits are claimed to provide the most advanced weaponised Black Hawk helicopter on the market.
International Institute for Strategic Studies military aerospace senior fellow Douglas Barrie said: "[The kit] would make it a weaponised utility helicopter, which goes some of the way of being an attack helicopter, but not all the way."
While the development has been funded by the UAE, the kit is also being marketed to other countries.
Kokorda added: "Right now, [this product] is for them and until we have finished creating the product for them, we are actively marketing it, telling everybody that we are going to have this weapons kit available, but we are not necessarily developing other things beyond what the UAE is looking to put in."
In addition to armed reconnaissance and attack missions, Battlehawk-equipped UH-60Ms are expected to perform troop transport, search and rescue, and disaster relief operations, Deagel reported.