Royal Saudi Land Forces to Buy Nine UH-60M Black Hawks

Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command RSLFAC) is planning to buy nine new Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters. The US Defense Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) announced on October 14 that US State Department approval has been given for this Foreign Military Sale, for which the DSCA delivered the required certification notifying Congress on October 13.  Including associated equipment, parts and logistical support, the estimated cost will be $495 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on October 13, 2015.

Major Defense Equipment (MDE) in the order will comprise the nine UH-60Ms, 21 T700-GE-701D engines (18 installed and three spares; 20 (18 installed and two spares) Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation Systems (GPS/INS), 12 (nine installed and three spares) AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS) and 20 M240H 7.62mm Machine Guns.

Also included are the following non-MDE items and support: Aircraft Survivability Equipment; M134 Miniguns; Electro-optical Infrared (EO/IR) system; Dual Mode (normal light/infrared) Controllable Search Lights; Fast Rope Insertion/ Extraction System (FRIES); External Electric Hoists; Internal Auxiliary Fuel Tank Systems (IAFS); Dual Patient Litter System and Ballistic Armour Protection System; plus spares, communications equipment, personnel training and ground support equipment.

The DSCA states that the proposed sale will make a positive contribution to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of an important regional partner that has been, and continues to be, a significant US partner for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.

The RSLFAC plans to use these helicopters for search and rescue, disaster relief, humanitarian support, counterterrorism and combat operations. Two earlier Black Hawk versions are already in service with the RASLFAC, which originally ordered 13 S-70A-1 (UH-60A) variants, deliveries of which commenced in 1990.  An order was then placed in August 2008 for 22 UH-60Ls, while a further two of this model were ordered in May 2011.  Alan Warnes