DUBAI // A squadron of the most advanced Black Hawk helicopters on the market will be delivered to the Ministry of Defence over the next two years under a deal made through the US government.
The manufacturer Sikorsky said yesterday it had sold the 40 aircraft to the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency, which will then deliver them to the Emirates.
The model UH-60M helicopters were sold to the US government for $600 million (Dh2.2bn), said Joseph Gigantelli, the Sikorsky vice-president for Europe and the Middle East.
The cost to the Ministry of Defence was not disclosed.
"The first M models will be delivered in February next year," Mr Gigantelli said. "The first shipment will be for three airplanes."
The deal was broken down into two stages, said Mr Gigantelli, with 14 aircraft being ordered in 2009 and the remaining 26 ordered this year.
The aircraft will be sold "green" from the factory, he said, meaning that they will not have been weaponised. The Black Hawks will be the UAE's second major purchase from Sikorsky, company officials said, following the purchase of 10 older "Lima" version of the UH-60 model in 2008, one of which was the centrepiece of the Heli-Show in Dubai's Airport Expo yesterday.
The differences between the two models involve a digital glass cockpit, composite rotor blades and a faster engine, said Gareth Jennings, the managing editor of Jane's Missiles and Rockets.
"The Gulf states are looking to procure the very latest up-to-date kit available to ensure the capability of their armed forces," he said.