Eight UH-60M Black Hawks Ordered for Tunisia

Sikorsky Aircraft was awarded a $93.1 million Foreign Military Sales contract on March 17 for the manufacture of eight green’ UH-60M Black Hawks for the Government of Tunisia. Estimated contract completion date is December 31, 2016.

The US Defense Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) had notified Congress of the proposed sale of 12 of these helicopters to Tunisia on July 24, 2014, following US State Department approval for the deal. It is as yet unclear whether the remaining four will be ordered at a later date or if the number to be acquired has been cut back.

The DSCA said that the UH-60Ms will be in standard US Government configuration with designated unique equipment and Government Furnished Equipment (GFE). In addition, six spare T700-GE-701D engines will be included, together with 26 embedded GPS/INS, 24 M134 7.62mm machine guns and integration of Precision Guided Rocket System capability to permit launch of laser-guided variants of 2¾in rockets.

The DSCA notification last year said that weaponry and associated equipment would include 9,100 2¾in Hydra unguided rockets and 100 AGM-114R Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, plus 24 GAU-19 0.50 calibre machine guns, 15 Wescam MX-15Di or Brite Star II EO/IR designators and six aviation mission planning systems. These will be ordered under separate contracts and, in view of the reduced number of helicopters, are likely to be cut back from these figures.

The DSCA stated that the Black Hawks will be used to provide border patrol, rapid reaction and field expedient medical evacuation for Tunisia’s air and ground forces in counter-terrorism and border security operations. Alan Warnes