Making its public debut at the IDEX show is the Sikorsky UH-60M Armed Black Hawk, the first having been officially unveiled in January during an event attended by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Three of the helicopters are participating in the tactical demonstration, and another is on static display at the NAVDEX waterfront site.
The UAE became the launch customer for Sikorsky's Armed Black Hawk (ABH) weaponisation kit in 2011, when a contract with Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) was announced at the IDEX show. ADAT is the principal shareholder of AMMROC (Advanced Military Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Centre), then a joint venture between ADAT and Sikorsky, and subsequently expanded to include Lockheed Martin (which now owns Sikorsky). AMMROC has so far completed six of 24 modifications.
The ABH kit provides the UH-60M with a weapons capability that is fully integrated with the helicopter's digital avionics suite. Qualification was achieved in February 2018 after around two years of live-firing trials undertaken mostly at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
The system includes a nose-mounted electro-optic/infrared sensor/laser designator turret that provides accurate targeting to both pilots through helmet-mounted displays. Stub wings each have two hardpoints for the carriage of rocket pods, gun pods and launchers for up to 16 Hellfire missiles. The system also supports the operation of 7.62mm Miniguns mounted in the cabin windows, which can be fixed to fire forward under pilot operation, or as crew-served weapons on flexible mounts.
For long-endurance missions, the UH-60M can carry a full external weapons load with ammunition pallets and an auxiliary fuel tank in the cabin. In the transport role, the UH-60M can seat 10 troops with two window gunners.