Warplanes: Battlehawks Confront Iran

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February 25, 2011: The UAE (United Arab Emirates) is converting 23 of its 40 UH-60 Black Hawk transports into AH-60 Battlehawk gunships. This will cost about $12 million per helicopter (including training, parts and support.) 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. These AH-60s are roughly equal to an early model AH-64, when armed with Hellfire missiles and machine-guns (7.62mm or 12.7mm multiple barrel rotary weapons), as well as more sensors.

With this conversion, the UAE gets another 23 gunships in a hurry. Existing UH-60 pilots are being trained to do what they have to do in an AH-60.

 


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