Sikorsky Qualifies Weapons System for S-70M / S-70i Black Hawks

S-70 Black Hawk helicopter armed with four forward-firing guns, rocket pod and laser-guided missiles (Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin). Sikorsky is a Lockheed Martin company.
Integrated system simplifies high accuracy targeting of guns, rockets and missiles for medium attack roles. Pictured here, a S-70 Black Hawk helicopter armed with four forward-firing guns, rocket pod and laser-guided missiles (Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin). Sikorsky is a Lockheed Martin company.

Sikorsky has completed qualification to military standards of a comprehensive weapons system for S-70M / S-70i™ Black Hawk helicopters.

Fully integrated with the aircraft’s existing avionics, the system 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 with high accuracy.

“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,” explains Bill Gostic, Sikorsky vice president of Global Military Systems & 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.”

Sikorsky concluded a six-year development program in 2017 of the weapons system, including two years of live fire tests at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.

(Versatile, dependable and rugged: just three reasons why 25 nations depend on HAWK helicopters for multi-mission support. Courtesy of Sikorksy and YouTube)

Sikorsky’s independent Qualification Assurance Board recently verified and validated the weapons system’s effectiveness and conformance to operational safety, airworthiness and firing accuracy.

Weapons are carried by two external wings supporting four weapons stations, which 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.

(Learn More. The AGM-114 Hellfire is an air-to-surface missile (ASM) first developed for anti-armor use, but later models were developed for precision strikes against other target types, and have been used in a number of targeted killings of high-profile individuals. Courtesy of AiirSource Military and YouTube)

Additionally, the qualified configuration features pilot-controlled fixed forward or crew served flex fire 7.62-mm mini-guns mounted to both cabin windows.

Once integrated for weapons delivery, the armed Black Hawk aircraft can be configured to perform a variety of medium attack missions:

Attack, Armed Escort, Fire Suppression:

Image courtesy of Sikorsky
Image courtesy of Sikorsky
  • 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.

To engage with guns and rockets, the weapons system presents continuously updated targeting symbology to each pilot’s helmet mounted display.

By following the cues on the display, the pilot can maneuver the aircraft and engage the target.

The system also provides target designation for laser-guided HELLFIRE missiles.

Available from Sikorsky, the Black Hawk weapons system can be tailored to customer preferences.

Lockheed Martin logoHeadquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 100,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.