S-70 Black Hawk helicopter armed with four forward-firing guns, rocket pod and laser-guided missiles (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin)
The weapons system for Sikorsky’s S-70M/S-70i international Black Hawk helicopters has completed qualification. The manufacturer said the system is fully integrated with the existing avionics and allows either pilot to place munitions quickly from forward firing guns, rocket pods and laser-designated air-to-ground missile launchers onto static or moving targets.
"Sikorsky has vastly simplified the complex task of placing rounds onto a target from standoff distances by calculating the complex ballistics required for effective airborne gunnery," said Bill Gostic, Sikorsky’s VP of global military systems and services. "Once the weapons interfaces and electro-optical infrared sensor are integrated with the Black Hawk helicopter's existing controls and displays, international militaries can add external wings and weapons of choice in less than three hours to perform a range of medium attack missions."
A six-year weapons system development program ended last year. That program included two years of live fire tests at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, Sikorsky said. The manufacturer’s independent Qualification Assurance Board recently verified and validated the weapons system's effectiveness and conformance to operational safety, airworthiness and firing accuracy.
There are four weapons stations on the helicopter, which are supported by two external wings. Sikorsky said the stations can support any combination of fixed forward 50-cal (12.7mm) gun, 7- or 19-shot Hydra 70 rocket pods or Hellfire air-to-ground missiles. The qualified configuration features pilot-controlled fixed forward or crew served flex fire 7.62-mm mini-guns mounted to both cabin windows.
Sikorsky said with the weapons system, the Black Hawk can be integrated for weapons delivery to perform:
- Attack, armed escort, fire suppression: Carry full external weapons load, with ammunition pallets and auxiliary fuel tank inside the cabin
- Troop transport and assault: Seat up to 10 troops and two window gunners with external wings (no ammunition pallets inside the cabin)
- Anti-armor: Carry up to 16 laser guided missiles
The weapons system presents continuously updated targeting symbology to each pilot's helmet mounted display, Sikorsky said. The pilot can maneuver the aircraft and engage the target by following cues on the display.
This weapons system can be tailored to customer preferences.