ISTANBUL Fri Feb 21, 2014 (Reuters)44
Turkey signed a deal worth $3.5 billion on Friday to buy helicopters from United Technologies Corp's (UTX.N) Sikorsky Aircraft unit, finalizing an order originally agreed upon in 2011, said the prime minister.
The agreement includes options that analysts say could result in billions of dollars of additional orders over the next three decades.
The 109 helicopters will be assembled in Turkey and a version of Sikorsky's popular Black Hawk. The main contractor is Turkish Aerospace Industries with components to be supplied by Sikorsky, Aselsan (ASELS.IS) and other Turkish companies.
Sikorsky said the deal marked the start of an important partnership with Turkish industry.
"Turkey is such an important market in terms of being a large customer, and it is also strategically important in terms of who they are in the world," Sikorsky President Mick Maurer said in a telephone interview.
He said the agreement would allow Turkish industry to develop the capability to produce nearly every part of the helicopter, including a newly designed Turkish cockpit.
Maurer declined to give many details about the new agreement, but said it would give his company a second source for many of the helicopter's components.
He said Sikorsky had already agreed with Turkey to market the Turkish version of the Black Hawk in other markets, helping Sikorsky benefit from Turkey's existing relationships in those areas and generating additional orders for Turkish suppliers.
"We're going out arm in arm, as we bring in other sales outside of Turkey that will be supplied by the new supply chain," Maurer said.
Sam Mehta, president of Sikorsky's Defense Systems and Services division, said the deal marked the start of a 30-year relationship, and included options for a wide range of Turkish government agencies to buy versions of the helicopter.
It also opened opportunities for servicing and repairing the helicopters, he said.