The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters and associated equipment to Saudi Arabia.
Under the estimated $495m sale, Saudi Arabia has requested the supply of nine UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopters, along with 21 T700-GE-701D engines, including 18 installed and three spares, 20 embedded global positioning systems with inertial navigation system, 12 AN/AAR-57, common missile warning systems, and 20 M240H 7.62mm machine guns.
Additional equipment includes aircraft survivability equipment, M134 miniguns, electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) system, dual-mode controllable search lights, fast rope insertion / extraction system, external electric hoists, internal auxiliary fuel tank system, dual patient litter system, and ballistic armour protection system.
The package also features spare and repair parts, communications equipment, personnel training and training equipment, tool and test equipment, ground support equipment, technical and logistics support services, as well as other related elements of logistics and programme support.
The Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command (RSLFAC) intends to use the helicopters for search and rescue, disaster relief, humanitarian support, counterterrorism, and combat operations.
Approved by the US State Department, the sale is expected to make a positive contribution to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the US by helping to boost the security of a significant US partner for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.
Sikorsky Aircraft and General Electric Aircraft will serve as prime contractors for the FMS programme.
An upgraded version of the UH-60 Black Hawk, the UH-60M helicopter can be used for tactical transport, utility, combat search and rescue, airborne assault, medical evacuation, aerial sustainment, disaster relief and fire-fighting missions.
Image: A UH-60M Black Hawk utility helicopter of the Swedish Air Force. Photo: courtesy of Alan Wilson.