Although born 4 decades ago, “Black Hawk” is always considered the helicopter of the 21st century.
“Black Hawk” can perform multiple roles such as tactical transport, electronic warfare, rescue-rescue, and even fire support. Sikorsky has developed an Advanced Weapon System add-on kit for the UH-60 “Black Hawk”, which brings a cost-effective attack capability while fully retaining the platform’s multi-role utility. Ground crews can add or remove external wings and weapons of choice in three hours.
The Weapon package adds a dedicated attack functionality to the traditionally transport-minded, medium-lift, twin-engined helicopter while also enhancing over-battlefield survivability through proven technological and engineering measures. The add-on package was qualified by the United States military during 2017. According to Lockheed Martin marketing materials, the modification serves only 3rd Generation Black Hawk helicopters and above.
The advanced weapon system for Black Hawk helicopters allows pilots to identify and engage static or moving targets with forward firing guns, rockets and laser-designated air-to-ground missiles. Fully integrated with the aircraft’s digital flight controls, the weapon system calculates the range and the complex ballistics required for pilot gunners to hit targets with high accuracy and reliability from stand-off distances during day and night operations.
This “all-in-one” solution can engage stationary as well as moving targets from the air, at-range, through ballistics, rocket, and missile fire depending on load out. The helicopter carries its typical operating crew of two in side-by-side seating as well as a pair of door gunners and up to eleven combat-ready troops. Pilots are each given control over the four weapon stations through helmet-mounted components: ballistics being calculated in real-time and delivered to the pilot’s optics set for more accurized firing “on-the-move”.
Other upgrades include the engine intakes covered in the signature reduced shroud and wing stubs are affixed for the carrying of various ordnance options. Each wing stub has two hardpoint positions and can accept miniguns, rockets, and missile racks. There are side-mountings on the helicopter for the door gunners and these systems can be fixed to fire forward and controlled by the pilots.
The powerful weapon upgrade pack makes the Black Hawk even more useful to support Special Operations forces as well as traditional Army ground elements. In addition to its inherent ability to suppress the enemy, the helicopter can also defeat enemy armor by carrying up to 16 of the proven AGM-114 “Hellfire” Anti-Tank Guided Missile armor-defeating missiles.
In addition to its powerful fire support capabilities, the helicopter is versatile enough to carry out armed reconnaissance, maritime enforcement and convoy support missions. Furthermore, weapons and passenger seating can be stripped from the airframe to return the fuselage to its cargo-carrying roots and the external sling capability is retained for further enhanced hauling endeavors.