Two gunners can be stationed to fire the helicopter's two 7.62-mm machine guns mounted in the cabin windows to return fire and provide protection for soldiers entering and exiting the vehicle during battle. It can also use Hellfire missiles if so equipped. Some types of Black Hawks, such as those used as medevacs, are typically not equipped with missiles. Medevacs carry pods containing medical supplies. The ESSS can also be outfitted with a 20-mm gun pod or a 30-mm chain gun.
Photo courtesy Department of Defense - Defense Visual Information Center
A UH-60 Black Hawk test fires an AGM-114A Hellfire tactical air-to-surface missile.
The Black Hawk is a product of the Vietnam War in as much as it was developed to address the weaknesses of Vietnam-era helicopters. In the next section, you will learn more about the Black Hawk's early development and how the U.S. military plans to keep it operable for another 20 years.