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 aircraft, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, has accepted the program’s prototype aircraft produced by its Polish subsidiary PZL Mielec.
“On-time delivery and the exceptional quality of this S-70i helicopter is a great start to the Turkish Utility Helicopter Program,” said Jason Lambert, Sikorsky TUHP Program Director. “The success of this important milestone was achieved through the dedication of the PZL Mielec workforce and Sikorsky engineering team, which also incorporated BLACK HAWK mission equipment options into the prototype helicopter for international delivery from Poland.”
Sikorsky accepted the TUHP prototype aircraft from PZL Mielec during a June 22 ceremony attended by senior leaders from the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Aselsan and Alp Aviation.
The TUHP prototype is the 37th S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter built in Poland. Among the modifications that PZL Mielec added to the aircraft were a rescue hoist, internal auxiliary fuel tank, cargo hook, Integrated Vehicle Health Management System, a blade de-icing system, and a rotor brake.
In early 2017, Sikorsky will fly the prototype aircraft 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 aircraft 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, and is a strategic asset in support of Lockheed Martin’s international growth objectives.