ADAT Signs Deal with Sikorsky Aircraft
At last week’s IDEX, Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technology (ADAT) signed a deal with Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. (a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.) which will see the Abu Dhabi company jointly develop and implement the weapons system program for the Black Hawk helicopter fleet flown by the UAE’s Special Operations Command.
On 21 February 2011, GHQ announced a deal to equip 23 of the 40 strong fleet with essential weapon systems enabling the Black Hawk helicopters to conduct a wide range of operations, including search and rescue, without air assault support. The contract includes options for the remaining 17 aircraft.
Sikorsky will provide kits that will equip UH-60M or S-70i™ international Black Hawk helicopters with four stations for fixing and discharging rockets, missiles and heavy caliber guns. Management of the weapons system will be fully integrated into the digital cockpit, which also includes a helmet display. When not armed, the stations can be used to carry extended range fuel tanks, increasing the helicopter’s long-range mission capability.
The contract will see a significant number of ADAT engineers working at Sikorsky Headquarters in the United States as part of the three year research and development phase. The joint team will establish how to integrate these cutting edge weapons systems into the Black Hawk helicopter and ultimately transfer capability to the UAE enabling potential support for other customers in the future.
During the second phase, rather than removing the Black Hawk helicopters from essential service and transporting them to the United States for the lengthy overhaul work to take place, the actual refit will occur in Al Ain at the rapidly developing AMMROC facility ensuring that a larger number of assets are still operationally ready for service during the process.
“The innovative approach adopted by both the UAE Special Operations Command and Sikorsky will allow us to further develop our fantastic capability here in Abu Dhabi and continue to train the excellent engineers at ADAT,” said Homaid Al Shemmari, Chairman of ADAT. “Not only will our team be able to physically integrate these cutting edge kits into our existing Black Hawk fleet on site in Abu Dhabi, they will also be at the heart of the design process, developing our existing knowledge base and sharing best practice with our strategic partners Sikorsky in the United States.”
The agreement also provides further opportunities around the globe with ADAT owning the exclusive worldwide license for the design and implementation of the specification, presenting significant royalty opportunities with other customers.
“The Black Hawk helicopter is well-known for its multi-mission capability and durability, which is why 25 nations today trust it. With this new capability, the Black Hawk helicopter becomes an even more ‘all-in-one’ platform, able to perform troop and cargo transport, search and rescue, disaster relief, medevac, and now effective air assault when needed,” said Mick Maurer, President of Sikorsky Military Systems. “We fully expect other militaries will want to maximize the value of their Black Hawk fleets either by procuring these kits or acquiring the preconfigured Battlehawk™ aircraft once we are ready to launch that product line.”
The kits are scheduled for test flight in 2013 with deliveries in 2014. Most of the installations will occur at the new AMMROC joint venture, in which ADAT and Sikorsky’s aftermarket business, Sikorsky Aerospace Services, have ownership. Design, development, testing and installation of the first three kits will occur in the United States. Eventually all military, repair and overhaul (MRO) work completed by ADAT will be transferred to AMMROC.