June 17, 2013
Sikorsky says it has cleared many of the hurdles facing a deal to build more than 100 Black Hawk utility helicopters in Turkey.
Sikorsky was selected by the Turkish government as the preferred bidder for the Turkish Utility Helicopter Program (TUHP) back in 2011. The company beat off competition from AgustaWestland to win the lucrative deal to produce 109 S-70T Black Hawks for the Turkish armed forces. But contractual issues between the company and Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) have delayed the signing of a contract.
During the IDEF show, held in Istanbul in early April, the SSM said that final negotiations for the program were under way.
Speaking to Aviation Week on the eve of the Paris air show, Mick Maurer, president of Sikorsky, said that many of the commercial issues surrounding the deal have been “put to bed” and that the company is now working toward the signing of three key contracts. One covers the procurement of equipment including the aircraft. Another covers intellectual property rights. The third will cover industrialization. The contracts will be signed with prime contractor Turkish Aerospace Industries and other partners. Maurer says he believes the final signatures will be inked in a few months.
The deal covers the local assembly and fitment of an indigenously designed avionics system produced by Aselsan and the creation of a new supply chain that will not only feed the Turkish Black Hawk program but also give Sikorsky a new and competitive source of components for the helicopter’s production. Other Turkish defense companies carrying out major work on the aircraft include Tusas Engine Industries, which is assembling the GE T700 engine, and ALP Aviation, which is building the landing gear, as well as parts of the gearbox and main rotor head.
The company will be displaying its S-70i International Black Hawk built by wholly owned subsidiary PZL Mielec in Poland in the flying display here at Le Bourget.
Sikorsky is hopeful that the aircraft will be selected for a large Polish armed forces requirement for some 70 utility helicopters to be delivered from 2015. The aircraft faces competition from AgustaWestland and its AW149, and from Eurocopter, with its EC725 Caracal.