ÜMİT ENGİNSOY April 26, 2011
The U.S. helicopter maker that last week grabbed a $3.5 billion deal to lead the production of 109 utility helicopters for Turkey’s military and other institutions hinted Tuesday that it would seek further business with Ankara.
“For many years, Sikorsky Aircraft and Turkish industry have collaborated on aero-structures and dynamic component parts, so this contract would follow a longstanding tradition of cooperation,” said Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. President Jeff Pino.
“Sikorsky looks forward to entering into this expended partnership with Turkey to meet their present and future rotorcraft needs,” Pino said.
Turkey will soon seek to develop its light utility helicopters in a new program, of which Sikorsky is expected to become a part, several defense analysts said.
On Thursday, Sikorsky, the maker of the T-70, a Turkish version of the S-70i Black Hawk, defeated Italy’s AgustaWestland, maker of the TUHP 149, a proposed Turkish version of the company’s newly developed AW-149, to win the deal.
Sikorsky will lead the production of a first batch of 109 T-70s, most of which will go to the military and the police. Turkish Aerospace Industry, or TAI, the program’s prime contractor, and several other Turkish companies will take part in the platforms’ manufacture.
“The Turkish Utility Helicopter, derived from the Black Hawk helicopter, will be an advanced, combat-proven, multi-mission helicopter that can meet all of the mission and performance requirements. The configuration of the T-70 baseline helicopter is based on the S-70i Black Hawk helicopter,” said Mick Maurer, president of Sikorsky Military Systems.
The aircraft will be assembled in Turkey by TAI. The program will allow Turkish industry access to the Sikorsky global supply chain, including the sale of Turkish-assembled aircraft to future Sikorsky customers.