Air Platforms

UAE reveals armed Black Hawk

23 January 2019

The newly revealed armed Black Hawk for the UAE shows several enhancements, most notably the stub wings fitted with four hardpoints for the carriage of a range of weapons. Source: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan via Twitter

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has revealed a new weaponised variant of the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, developed by Abu Dhabi-based Advanced Military Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Center (AMMROC).

The helicopter was officially unveiled on 22 January during an event attended by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Images of the event show the transport and utility platform as having been upgraded with a nose-mounted electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret; stub-wing pylons with four hardpoints carrying rocket pods and air-to-surface missiles; door-mounted Gatlin guns; as well as engine intake-mounted flare dispensers and modified exhaust outlets.

While a number of these features have already been seen on unarmed Black Hawks operated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force and Air Defence (AF & AD), the stub-wing weapon pylons are new. Previously released footage showing a Black Hawk firing rockets over Yemen feature a different weapons carriage configuration, with the rocket pods instead being mounted under a modified sponson fitted to the lower forward fuselage.

As seen during its official unveiling, the general configuration of the UAE’s new armed Black Hawk is broadly similar to weaponised Black Hawks in service with other air arms around the world. Lockheed Martin, which owns a 40% stake in AMMROC, recently unveiled its new Armed Black Hawk concept that features all the systems visible on the UAE helicopter. It has not been confirmed whether the AMMROC solution has been developed domestically, or if it is effectively a licence-built version of the Lockheed Martin Armed Black Hawk (the Lockheed Martin solution is fully integrated with the helicopter’s existing flight management system, while it is unclear to what extent AMMROC has done the same).

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