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Sikorsky to upgrade Saudi Black Hawks

Sikorsky Aerospace Services is to upgrade Saudi Arabia's S-70A Black Hawk utility helicopters to the improved UH-60L configuration - its first such contract for the type in the Middle East.

The Royal Saudi Land Forces flies 14 General Electric T700-701A-powered S-70As, as listed in Flightglobal's HeliCAS database. These were delivered between 1990 and 1992.

The modernisation programme will introduce more powerful T700-701D engines, plus new avionics, a replacement flight-control computer and upgraded flight controls, says Sikorsky.

Conversion of the legacy type will also improve commonality with Saudi Arabia's pending batch of 48 new-build UH-60Ls, deliveries of which are expected to start later this year.

Sikorsky Aerospace Services president David Adler describes the company's deal with Riyadh as "an important launch point in the [Middle East] region". Black Hawks are also flown locally by the air forces of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

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