Turkish defence minister Vecdi Gonul has named Sikorsky’s T-70 Black Hawk as the winner of the nation’s general purpose helicopter project, which covers the planned delivery of 121 aircraft.
Gonul announced the selection following a 21 April meeting by Turkey’s undersecretary of defence industries (SSM). This had last month adjourned having failed to reach a decision and requested discounted prices.
A development of the S-70 Black Hawk, the T-70 will be produced in Turkey under an agreement between Sikorsky and Turkish Aerospace Industries. Negotiations will start soon and a production agreement will be signed before the end year of this year.
According to the SSM, Turkey will produce transmissions, landing gears, engine parts and avionics for the T-70, including mission computer hardware. Ankara will also gain the right to make direct sales of the model to other countries, with the SSM having forecast a market for 600 over the next 20 years.
The general purpose helicopter programme is expected to include the production of 20 T-70s for the Turkish land forces, 11 for special forces and six each for its air force, navy and electronic systems command. Thirty will go to the nation’s Gendarma, 20 to the police and 20 for use as firefighting aircraft by the forest ministry.
Ankara’s decision comes as a blow to AgustaWestland, which had been offering to supply a TUH-149 development of its AW149 design.
The Turkish army already operates more than 50 S-70 Black Hawks.
By Tolga Ozbek – Flightglobal