The United States has concluded delivery of eight UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Tunisia, which will use them for transport, medical evacuation and combat operations.
The US Army Security Assistance Command (USASAC) on 21 November said that deliveries started in June 2017 with the delivery of four of the helicopters. Delivery of the final four helicopters this June completed the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case, which is valued at more than $338 million.
Tunisia, along with other African countries, is facing security threats in the form of violent extremist organizations and criminal activities such as pirating in coastal waters. The eight Black Hawks will bolster Tunisia’s ability to provide a safe and stable country for its citizens, the US Army said.
USASAC implemented the Total Package Approach in 2015, which ensures partner countries are properly trained on how to use and maintain the equipment purchased from the US.
The training package includes initial cadre through Fort Rucker, Alabama, for pilots, instructor pilots and standardization pilots; and helicopter crew chief and maintainer training at US Army schools.
The eight Black Hawks were ordered form the United States in December 2014. There was talk of Tunisia acquiring an additional four, with Sikorsky being awarded a $38 million contract for the additional aircraft in September 2016, with work being completed in 2020.
Tunisia requested Battlehawk kits that effectively turn the aircraft into attack helicopters with 2.75 in laser guided rockets, Hellfire missiles, 7.62 mm and .50 cal machineguns, and thermal imagers and laser designators.
Tunisia has bought other equipment from the United States, including two Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft in 2010, and has received donated equipment, including light aircraft, helmets, shields, bullet resistant vests and boats.
In early 2017 Tunisia received the first of 24 ex-US Army OH-58D Kiowa Warrior light helicopters. In May 2016 the United States government approved the sale of 24 ex-US Army OH-58Ds, weapons and equipment to Tunisia in a deal worth $100 million. A wide variety of equipment and weapons was to be installed on the OH-58D helicopters, including AGM-114R Hellfire missiles; M124 miniguns; rocket launchers, and Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rounds. This additional equipment is worth $44.3 million.