KUWAIT HAS agreed to buy an armed version of the Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk to meet its attack-helicopter requirement, rather than the McDonnell Douglas (MDC) AH-64A Apache.

The Black Hawk will be supplied without the sophisticated combined forward-looking infra-red (FLIR)/laser designator used on armed Black Hawks operated by the US Army's 160th Special Operations Air Regiment, say US Army and US industry sources.

The deal was held up because of Pentagon reluctance to provide Kuwait with Hughes Aircraft's Airborne Electro-optical Special Operations Payload, the FLIR/laser designator used on the US Army's MH-60 Defensive Armed Penetration helicopter.

The Pentagon offered a less-sophisticated FLIR/laser designator instead, which Kuwait has reluctantly accepted. It is believed that a unit being developed by FLIR Systems using commercial components may be offered.

Source: Flight International