Four more Black Hawks for Tunisia


The US Army has announced a just on $80 million contract to be executed by Sikorsky for four modified UH60M black Hawk helicopters for Tunisia.

The contract, announced last week, follows the approval, in March this year, of eight similar rotary-winged aircraft for the North African country.

Both contracts are part of US Army Contracting command, Redstone Arsenal. All told the 12 Black Hawks will cost more than $172 million.

The work on the four modified black Hawks will be done in west Palm Beach, Florida and the estimated completion date is presently set down as June 30, 2019.

The first eight black Hawks will be delivery to Tunisia before the end of this year and forms part of a request for 12 of the aircraft. All told the deal, including equipment, parts, training and logistic support, is estimated at $700 million.

The UH-60M Black Hawk variant Tunisia will receive is the most advanced model of the UH-60/S-70 series, and can be armed with rockets and missiles. The eight helicopters Tunisia will get will be in a green (unmodified) configuration but Tunisia has requested Battlehawk kits to effectively turn the aircraft into attack helicopters. As part of the deal Tunisia will get 24 7.62 mm M134 Miniguns, 24 12.7 mm (.50 inch) GAU-19 Gatling guns, 20 M299 Hellfire missile pods and 24 70 mm Hydra rocket pods with 9 100 Hydra rockets and 100 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles.

Other equipment will include 15 Wescam MX-15Di or Brite Star II electro-optical/infrared designators and 30 AN/AVS-9 night-vision goggles. The countermeasures suite is to comprise AN/APR-39A(V)4 radar warning receivers, AN/AAR-57 missile warning systems, and AN/AVR-2B(V)1 laser warning systems.

The Black Hawks will be used in border patrol, rapid reaction and medevac taskings to support both Tunisian air and ground forces in counter-terrorism and border security operations.

The Tunisian military has been fighting militant groups allied to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) since 2012.