May 10, 2013
Credit: USAF (Sikorsky HH-60 Black Hawk)
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) says it is in final negotiations with Sikorsky over the signing of the Turkish Utility Helicopter Program (TUHP) deal.
Sikorsky with its T-70 Black Hawk was selected as preferred bidder for the TUHP in 2011, but since the initial announcement the program has been at a standstill because of work share agreement issues.
The selection of the Black Hawk, which won against AgustaWestland’s AW149, will involve a number of Turkish defense companies carrying out major work on the aircraft, including Tusas Engine Industries (TEI) assembling the GE T700 engine and ALP Aviation building the landing gear, as well as parts of the gearbox and main rotor head. Aselsan will produce the avionics system.
In a May 7 statement during the opening of the IDEF defense equipment show in Istanbul, SSM said: “The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. have intended to finalize the negotiations that will result in a contract award to build Black Hawk utility helicopters in Turkey.”
A Sikorsky spokesman said the company believes the program is close to being signed off. The program plans for 109 T-70 Black Hawks to be built for the Turkish army and other military agencies.
The program is one of several important helicopter procurements taking place in Turkey. The Turkish national police are taking delivery of new Bell 429s, while the army is training its first pilots on the country’s new T129 attack helicopter, developed in conjunction with AgustaWestland. The Turkish government has also released requests for information on a new fleet of long-range helicopters for its coast guard, while the government wants seven VIP helicopters to supplant several Sikorsky S-92s already in service.