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Sikorsky Armed Black Hawk (ABH) Demonstrator Completes Weapons Test Phase

15th June 2009 - 0:00 by the Shephard News Team

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and Elbit Systems announced today successful completion of the test phase for the Armed Black Hawk (ABH) demonstrator helicopter, also known as the Battlehawk helicopter.?

Achieving this milestone clears the way for Sikorsky to begin offering production proposals for customers to convert existing Black Hawk helicopters or order new production aircraft in the armed configuration.?

The testing phase was conducted to establish the safe operation of the weapons and weapons management system, as well as to gather data on the systems. ?An optical missile, a laser-guided rocket, and a 20-mm turreted gun were all fired successfully. ?

The demonstrator configuration also includes Elbit cockpit displays, a Mission Management system with Digital Map, Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) and ANVIS/HUD helmet systems with cueing capabilities integrated into the avionics suite. ?The demonstrator completed its first flight on Sept. 9, 2008 at the Elbit Systems? Cyclone facility in Israel.

Sikorsky President Jeffrey P. Pino said, ?The results of the live fire testing demonstrate that the utility Black Hawk aircraft platform also can serve as an attack helicopter, providing additional firepower and mission flexibility. ?The Black Hawk helicopter has proven its value for the last three decades in military service all over the world, and continues to evolve as a modern multi-purpose platform for all branches of the armed forces.?

The production Battlehawk helicopter will come equipped with a full suite of armed reconnaissance and attack capabilities, including an integrated helmet display and such weapons options as missiles, rockets, and fixed forward and turreted guns. These options will be available on new-build aircraft or as a kit that can be retrofitted onto existing Black Hawk helicopter platforms.?

The Battlehawk helicopter will provide medium-lift capability and firepower that cannot be duplicated by current dedicated utility or attack platforms. The aircraft can be used in either combat or peacetime for such missions as troop transport, search and rescue, and disaster relief. In the modern battlefield, the Battlehawk helicopter combines unique capabilities of advanced attack and accurate weapons delivery with deployment of fast-reaction teams.

The ABH demonstrator program is a cooperative effort between Sikorsky Aircraft and the government of Israel in conjunction with Elbit Systems, as the Israeli industry?s leading representative and prime contractor for mission, avionics and weapon systems integration.?

The program?s purpose is to produce an armed demonstrator for evaluation by the Israeli Air Force. ?An evaluation phase for that purpose will begin this month and continue through October 2009.

Sikorsky Aircraft and the government of Israel signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2005. Elbit Systems, based in Haifa, Israel, was selected to be the sub-systems supplier in February 2006 through an RFP process that was initiated in December 2005.

More than 3,000 Black Hawk helicopter variants have been delivered to 27 governments worldwide since 1978, accumulating more than 9 million combined flight hours.

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