AUSA 2017: Unitech chases foreign helicopter sales
Unitech Composites, manufacturers of the multi-station lightweight armament support structure (MLASS) wings as used by the US Army’s MH-60M, is seeing a range of global opportunities as FMS helicopter deals become reality.
The MLASS wings onboard the Black Hawk are expected to be certified by the end of the year and live fire testing is anticipated to take place in November and this is likely to take a few days, Dan Kinney, military programmes business development manager for Unitech Composites, told Shephard.
With the US Army applying the MLASS wings to its aircraft, Kinney said that there was interest stemming in the weapons pylon across the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.
Unitech is particularly keen to get involved with the arming of the 58 UH-60 models that are currently being delivered to the Afghan Air Force.
‘We are looking to get on the Afghanistan programme and we hope to be on contract in 2017,’ Kinney told Shephard.
At this stage, Kinney was unable to divulge details but users of the Black Hawk like Jordan could be potential recipients of MLASS – the Jordanian Air Force are expected to be in receipt of two Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawks in October of this year.
Kinney expressed Unitech’s interest in pursuing opportunities in Australia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Notably, Australia’s army has more than 30 Black Hawks within its fleet.
In relation to Saudi Arabia, in June this year Sikorsky had received the go ahead from the US Army for a five year contract worth $3.8 billion for 40 UH-60M Black Hawks to the country.
There is scope for another 103 aircraft meaning the contract could rise by a further $1.4 billion. It is anticipated that deliveries will continue into 2022.
The base contract of 257 aircraft includes 182 UH-60M Black Hawks, 142 for the US Army and 40 for the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) and 75 HH-60M Pave Hawk.
The UAE is currently fielding the Sikorsky weapon pylon but Kinney sees an opportunity here as the Unitech offering is a lighter addition to the platform comparatively.
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