Emirati Firm AMMROC Inks Deal with Sikorsky for Black Hawk Maintenance  

Defence Industry

Dubai: American aircraft giant Sikorsky this week announced it has newly authorised an Emirati firm, AMMROC, to be its first non-US maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) centre for the UAE’s Black Hawks.

AMMROC, which stands for Advanced Military Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Centre, was already licensed by Lockheed for some Black Hawk components, but “is now our first international authorised MRO depot, and is approved to perform repairs on components for UAE Black Hawks,” Felipe Benvegnu, director of sustainment at Sikorsky, said.

“AMMROC is also in the final stages of becoming an approved vendor to Sikorsky, and will eventually be awarded subcontracts from Sikorsky in support of the worldwide Black Hawk fleet, generating revenue for the UAE, as well creating highly skilled UAE jobs,” Bevegnu added.

AMMROC was originally a joint venture set up more than a decade ago between Sikorsky and another Emirati firm, before it was acquired by the Emirati defence conglomerate EDGE Group in 2020.

But according to company officials, AMMROC and an aircraft readiness firm, GAL, split with EDGE Group in 2021 and are in the process of merging as GAL AMMROC in a joint entity under Abu Dhabi Holding (ADQ), which bills itself as a “strategic investment vehicle” for the Emirati government. GAL AMMROC showcased their wares at a joint booth here at the ongoing Air Show.

“Today GAL and AMMROC, still two separate legal entities, are being managed as one business by one leadership team in order to leverage synergies driving further efficiencies in the effort to deliver an enhanced value proposition to our customer base and the market. The ultimate goal being to merge the two businesses into one,” said Frederic Dupont, chief commercial officer for the would-be merged firm.

A spokesperson for EDGE declined to comment on this. Dupont didn’t specify whether the MRO centre will perform maintenance activities for other Black Hawks in the region, including America’s 5th Fleet aircraft, but said that currently AMMROC will do repair and overhaul activities for 49 line-replaceable units of Black Hawk helicopters.

“Prior to AMMROC becoming an authorized centre, these Black Hawk components would follow a long process that included export and import procedures, transportation back and forth between UAE and USA, resulting in potential logistical challenges and long lead times, ultimately negatively affecting aircraft availability,” Sikorsky’s Benvegnu said. “Having high quality local capabilities supported by the OEM [original equipment manufacturer], will help reduce lead times significantly and translate into better service and availability for the UAE.”