AH-60L / S-70 Battle Hawk
The new version of the Black Hawk helicopters, designated Battle Hawk, was offered by Sikorsky to the Australian Army's Air 87 armed reconnaissance helicopter program. "Team Battle Hawk", led by Sikorsky is also comprised of other leading technology companies such as General Electric, Rockwell Collins, GIAT and Hamilton Standard. Sikorsky and Elbit Systems intend to offer Black Hawk helicopter upgrades to other users with an operational requirement of adapting their fleet to attack missions.
Elbit Systems Ltd. signed a teaming agreement with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation of Stratford, CT, for the upgrading and conversion of Black Hawk helicopters to armed reconnaissance and attack applications. Under the agreement Elbit Systems will provide the Helmet Mounted Display, Targeting Sensor, Stores Management Computers and other components of the upgraded configuration and will be responsible for the weapons integration.
The Elbit Systems' MIDASH (Modular Integrated Display and Sight Helmet) will provide the Battle Hawk with the flight and weapons symbology for day and night operations. The Toplite II Targeting Sensor has FLIR (Forward-Looking Infrared), day time TV and a Laser Designator and Rangefinder for search and weapon designation.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation is a world leader in helicopter design and manufacturing. More than 2400 Black Hawk helicopters supplied by Sikorsky are flown by 25 operators around the world in a range of military applications. Elbit Systems has extensive experience in upgrading helicopters for customers worldwide, such as the Sikorsky CH-53 for the Israeli Air Force and the PUMA helicopter for the Romanian Air Force, as well as in developing advanced avionics for various platforms, such as the Boeing Osprey V-22, the Israeli Air Force Panther naval helicopter, and other numerous types of helicopters in the U.S., Israel and worldwide.
A representation of the Battle Hawk helicopter, incorporating the MIDASH helmet and the Toplite II Targeting Sensor, was displayed at ``Australian International Airshow '99'' in Avalon, Australia. The Rooivalk was on the Australian Army's Air 87 evaluation list, with the Boeing AH-64D Apache, the Eurocopter Tiger and Agusta A 129 Scorpion. The last three made the Army's short list, but the Rooivalk, with the Bell AH-1Z Viper and Sikorsky Battle Hawk, was eliminated. The Eurocopter Tiger, an armed reconnaissance helicopter in the 6000 kg class, was selected under the Air 87 program for service with the Australian Army.
The Sikorsky S-70 Battle Hawk helicopter -- with a turreted 20mm cannon -- brings true battlefield versatility to the Australian Army's AIR-87 Armed Reconnaissance program. The Battlehawk being offered to the Australian Army is a variant of the Blackhawk helicopter for the armed reconnaissance and attack applications. It is based on the UH-60L aircraft in service today with the U.S. Army, and incorporates numerous improvements to the UH-60A -- on which Australia's S-70A-9 Army Blackhawk, is based.
Among the most significant improvements is the change from T700-GE-700 engines with 1,560 shp each to T700-GE-701C engines with 1,890 shp each and an uprated 3,400 shp gearbox to handle them. Other improvements also include better electromagnetic and corrosion protection and a 9,000 lb rated cargo hook. With these improvements, the Battlehawk helicopter is able to meet the AIR-87 mission requirements, along with an additional 1,000 to 1,500 lb payload capability for fuel, weapons reload, external load or other payloads for mission flexibility.
It has Blackhawk survivability features that have been battlefield-proven in Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Turkey, Bosnia, Colombia and Desert Storm. The Battlehawk helicopter has dash speed and agility capabilities that few dedicated attack helicopters can match and none can exceed.
The major Battlehawk weapons feature is the 20mm GIAT THL 20 turreted gun. Its location under the cabin provides a rugged, simple integration. The gun can be slaved to the Elbit Systems Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) cueing, or to the Elbit Systems Toplite II Targeting Sensor Line of Sight. Ammunition is stored in the cabin and fed to the gun through one 90-degree bend, versus up to seven such bends with nose-mounted gun turrets, providing unparalleled accessibility, feed and ease of reload.
Past weapons integration on the Blackhawk using the External Stores/Weapons System (ESWS) have included Hellfire missiles, 2.75-inch Rockets, Stinger Missiles and various gun pods including 7.65 mm, 20mm and 30mm cannon. One current operational configuration has dual 30mm chain guns, dual 7.65mm machine guns and Hellfire missiles and rockets, more than doubling the firepower of existing attack helicopters. The ESWS also can accommodate up to four 230 gallon external fuel pods.
The Elbit Systems MIDASH (Modular Integrated Display and Sight Helmet) provides highly accurate helmet tracking, flight and weapons symbology for day and night operations. It features state-of-the-art image intensifiers for night pilotage. It is lighter and more ergonomically designed with a larger field of view (FOV) than existing HMD systems. The Elbit Systems Toplite II Targeting Sensor System has FLIR, Daytime TV and laser Designator and Rangefinder for search and weapon designation.
The Battlehawk helicopter has a full "glass" cockpit with Rockwell Collins active matrix color LCD Multifunction Displays and CDUs. They result in a significantly smaller instrument panel with 27 degrees visibility over the nose, 12 degrees more than most attack pilot cockpits. The narrower panel also improves lateral and downward visibility using chin windows nonexistent on current attack helicopters. The HMDs and HOCAS (Hands on Collective and Stick) features of the Battlehawk helicopter enable either pilot or copilot to perform piloting, search, comm or weapons tasks while maintaining "eyes up, hands on."
The Battlehawk helicopter's 400 cubic foot cabin, along with it's performance capabilities, enable it to carry additional munition reloads, thus reducing the need to return to a forward rearming point and dramatically increasing the firepower that it can deliver, a real force multiplier. With its 9,000 lb cargo hook, it can carry the munitions for several aircraft, essentially bringing along it's own re-arming facility, another real force multiplier. The cabin also provides significant mission flexibility such as search and rescue or team insertion that dedicated attack helicopters cannot perform.
From a logistics viewpoint, the Battlehawk helicopter approach offers the ADF a significant advantage since it shares a high degree of commonality with the existing S-70A-9 BlackHawk and S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters already fielded in Australia.
Designated the S-70, Blackhawk variants, including naval derivatives, are serving, or are on order, with the 24 international customers -- Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, People's Republic of China, Spain, Taiwan, The Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Turkey.