Saudi Arabia is to receive 17 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters valued at USD193.85 million.
The deal, which was announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 11 January, covers eight helicopters for the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) and nine for the Royal Saudi Land Forces Airborne Special Security Forces (RSLFASSF).
All 17 platforms will be delivered in a “unique configuration”, according to the contract notification, with work set to be complete by 31 December 2022.
With a Lockheed Martin spokesperson confirming to Jane’s that these helicopters were previously included as part of a wider Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case to Saudi Arabia, it is unclear if they represent additional or previously announced platforms. Certainly, the unit value of USD11.4 per platform suggests that the contract could be for mission modifications rather than for fully missioned helicopters.
The spokesperson did, however, say that these particular platforms were not included in the USD3.8 billion US Army multiyear contract announced in July 2017 that included 40 UH-60M and 75 HH-60M medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) Black Hawks for the SANG. Those helicopters are due to be delivered by 30 June 2022. Neither do they form part of the letter of intent (LOI) that Lockheed Martin signed with local firm Taqnia in May 2017 for up to 150 S-70i helicopters to be used by various Saudi government agencies.
Given the many different air arms functioning within the Saudi armed forces, it is difficult to say precisely how many UH-60Ms have been ordered, delivered, and are planned for either the SANG or the RSLFASSF. Lockheed Martin was unable to provide Jane’s with a definitive figure, while the SANG had not responded to a request for numbers by the time of writing.
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