On the sidelines of the 2019 International Defence Exhibition and Conference, IDEX, the Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Centre, AMMROC, and Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, congratulated the UAE Joint Aviation Command, JAC, for achieving mission readiness with a fully integrated Black Hawk helicopter weapon system, and graduating the first cadre of pilot gunners.
A mission-ready Black Hawk aircraft were shown this week for the first time during IDEX, both in flight and on static display. The UAE-based AMMROC worked with principal subcontractor Sikorsky, the Black Hawk original equipment manufacturer, to develop and qualify the weapon system that was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, earlier this year.
"The Joint Aviation Command challenged AMMROC and Sikorsky to deliver an advanced weapon system that will transform the force’s UH-60M multi-role Black Hawk helicopters into highly effective attack platforms," said Jason Lambert, Vice President for Sikorsky Global Mission Systems and Services. "We are pleased to have met the requirements of the JAC, qualifying the system to military airworthiness standards, and certifying JAC pilots in just a few weeks."
As prime contractor for the weapon system, AMMROC oversaw work performed by Sikorsky. AMMROC currently is installing the weapon system onto JAC’s Black Hawk and has been delivering modified aircraft to the JAC since 2018.
"Attention to detail in development, integration and testing ensured the weapon system meets expectations and is easy to operate," said Tim German, AMMROC Chief Commercial Officer. "AMMROC and Sikorsky are honoured by the trust the JAC placed in our two companies to ensure security for the UAE."
The system’s two external wings support a total of four weapons stations. Each station can carry any combination of fixed forward 50-cal (12.7mm) gun, 7- or 19-shot Hydra 70 rocket pods, or air-to-ground missiles. Additionally, JAC pilots can control two fixed forward 7.62-mm mini-guns, which are mounted to the cabin windows, and can be served by the two crew in the cabin.
Fully integrated with the aircraft flight controls, the weapon system calculates the range and the complex ballistics required for the gun rounds or rockets to hit the target on the first attempt. Pilots see the target via the aircraft’s electro-optical infrared sensor, multi-function displays and their helmet mounted display.
"Either pilot can then manoeuvre the aircraft to fire any weapon carried on the aircraft," German said adding, "This approach eliminates the need for pilot gunners to constantly fire, adjust their aim, and fire again until they hit the target."