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Arie Egozi

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is in negotiations with potential customers for the upgraded version of the BLACK HAWK helicopter. Though these are overseas are customers, with whom the negotiations are in various stages, it seems that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) is also evaluating the upgrade for its fleet of BLACK HAWKS, with the negotiations based on the upgrade package designed by the Israeli company and installed on a dedicated demonstrator. This was designed by the new aviation group of IAI that has merged some previously separated entities within the company with the BLACK HAWK upgrade programme aimed at current operators of the helicopter and at air forces that want to purchase surplus airframes and upgrade them as an alternative to buying a new helicopter. The upgraded package includes a glass cockpit, enhanced navigation systems, high performance mission EO payload, weapons and self-protection/ EW systems. According to Yoav Laor, VP and general manager of conversion and upgrades in the aviation group, the upgrade includes airframe work and the full overhaul of the BLACK HAWK’s transmission units and rotor blades. “Our package is now being offered to air forces that are operating BLACK HAWKs and others that plan to buy old BLACK HAWKs and upgrade them, [this] will cost much less than to buy a new helicopter with similar capabilities,” Laor said.