Warplanes: AH-60 Killer Hawk

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September 3, 2009: Israel has a helicopter gunship shortage, and it's arming, and equipping with sensors, UH-60 transports to help fill the gap. While Israel has only 48 AH-64 gunships, they found these to be exceptionally useful during the January fighting in Gaza. There, new tactics, that showed the gunships to be much more useful than previously thought. So a dozen or more UH-60s are going to be fitted out as gunships, to allow these new tactics to be used more widely if there is another war with Hezbollah in the north..

Arming UH-60s is nothing new. There have long been "weapons packages" for the Black Hawk. There is also the ESSS (External Stores Support System) available, which gives the UH-60 two stubby wings (like the AH-64 has), each with two hard points (for Hellfire missiles, rockets or machine-guns). The ESSS are wired to connect to the UH-60 cockpit, and weapons controls that can be installed there. The Israelis are creating these "AH-60s" roughly equal to an early model AH-64, arming them with Hellfire missiles and machine-guns (7.62mm or 12.7mm multiple barrel rotary weapons), as well as more sensors. In this way, Israel can get another dozen or so gunships in a hurry. Meanwhile, UH-60 pilots are being trained to do what they have to do in a "AH-60".

 


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