Feb. 5 (UPI) — Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, said Monday it has completed military standard qualifications for a newly-minted weapons system for Sikorsky-manufactured Black Hawk helicopters.
The comprehensive weapon system designed for the S-70M and S-70i Black Hawk helicopters can be integrated into existing avionics and provides the aircraft’s pilot the ability to traverse rapidly between forward firing guns, rocket pods and laser-designated air-to-ground missile launchers onto static or moving targets with high accuracy, the company said.
“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,” Bill Gostic, Sikorsky vice president of Global Military Systems & Services, said in a press release.
“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,” said Gostic.
Sikorsky says the weapons system program has been under development for six years, which included two years of live-fire tests at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. The development stage was completed in 2017.
Additionally, the weapons system underwent an in-house inspection for qualification assurance, and was verified through the “weapons system’s effectiveness and conformance to operational safety, airworthiness and firing accuracy.”
The weapons are carried by two external wings that can support four variant weapon stations such as 50-caliber machine guns and Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, with the added addition of pilot-controlled fixed forward or crew served flex fire 7.62-mm mini-guns mounted to both cabin windows.
The new weapons system allows the military to customize the aircraft for a number of medium range assaults and security missions, Sikorsky said.