Just two weeks after the Turkish Government announced the start of the Turkish Utility Helicopter Program (TUHP) to build a fleet of multi-role T70 utility helicopters based on the S-70i Black Hawk, Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky has accepted the program’s prototype aircraft produced by its Polish subsidiary, PZL Mielec.
Sikorsky accepted the TUHP prototype aircraft from PZL Mielec during a ceremony on 22 June. The chopper is the 37th S-70i helicopter built in Poland. Among the modifications that PZL Mielec added to the aircraft are a rescue hoist, internal auxiliary fuel tank, cargo hook, Integrated Vehicle Health Management System, a blade de-icing system, and a rotor brake.
Early next year, Sikorsky will fly the prototype to Ankara where it will become the engineering development test bed for a new avionics suite being co-developed by Sikorsky and Turkish defense electronics company Aselsan. The two companies will use the helicopter to integrate, flight-test, and qualify the avionics suite, which is designed to the preferences of the T70 user community.
Contractual agreements approved by the U.S. and Turkish governments license TAI to build and deliver a total of 300 T70 helicopters (109 baseline + 191 options) to six Turkish agencies: the Land Forces, Air Force, Gendarme, Special Forces, National Police, and the Directorate General of Forestry. The first Turkish-built T70 aircraft will be certified and qualified for delivery to the Turkish Government in 2021.
Over the next two years, PZL will manufacture the first five cabin structures that TAI will assemble onto the first five T70 aircraft. PZL personnel also will provide technical and manufacturing assistance and training to TAI both in Turkey and Poland. The PZL facility is the largest manufacturing facility outside the United States owned by Lockheed Martin.
Sikorsky has been contracted to supply seven ‘uniquely’ configured UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Mexico, according to a statement made by the US Department of Defense on Tuesday 12 April. The contract is worth 54 million USD – and does not further disclose what apparently makes the choppers unique.
The US has ordered 35 more Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawks for the US Army, a statement released by the Pentagon said on 8 March. The contract is worth 387 million USD. Deliveries are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The helicopters will be built in Stratford, Connecticut, where many of roughly 4,000 Black Hawks already produced also originate from. Sikorsky was taken over by Lockheed Martin in 2015 but will continue to design, sell and manufacture helicopters under its own name. The company is one of the most reputable helicopter manufacturers worldwide.
Jordan on 3 March took delivery of the last of eight Sikorsky (Lockheed Martin) Black hawk medium transport helicopters. They are tools for the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) in securing Jordan’s borders against Daesh forces in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, both Jordan and US officials said during the handover ceremony at Marka airbase in Amman.
The US cofunded the helicopters and sees them as vital assets against possible insurgents in Jordan. The country is host to Western military aircraft taking parting part in missions over Syria and Iraq.
The handover also marked six decades of relations between the US and Jordan. According to sources, eight more Black Hawks should arrive in 2017 against a cost of 200 million USD. Together, the helicopters operate as a Quick Reaction Force for border security.
Austria is looking towards the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and BAE Systems Hawk to replace its age old Saab 105 trainer jets, news outlet oe24.at reports. The Saabs are set to retire in 2020 and a decision about their replacement is to be made over the next few months. Austrian Alouette III helicopters are also due to retire, while Black Hawk transport choppers are updated.