Turkey has awarded U.S. firm Sikorsky a contract worth US$3.5 billion to supply 109 Black Hawk-derived helicopters, with the possibility of nearly 500 more over 10 years.
Sikorsky, owned by United Technologies, beat a rival bid by Italy’s AgustaWestland, owned by Finmeccanica.
Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul said the decade-long project could eventually become far larger.
“At first stage, 109 helicopters will be supplied, but this can increase up to 600 helicopters during the 10-year term of the project,” Gonul said.
“The project will be worth around US$3.5 billion. The schedule of supply will be determined in the coming period,” he added.
He said Turkish aerospace firm TUSAS will produce several parts for the helicopters, which will be assembled by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).
“For many years, Sikorsky Aircraft and Turkish industry have collaborated on aerostructures and dynamic component parts, so this contract would follow a longstanding tradition of cooperation,” said Sikorsky President Jeffrey P Pino. “Sikorsky looks forward to entering into this expanded partnership with Turkey to meet their present and future rotorcraft needs.”
The helicopters, which would be used by Turkish armed forces and the police, are part of a drive to modernise the country’s defences.
“The Turkish Utility Helicopter, derived from the Black Hawk helicopter, will be an advanced, combat-proven, multi-mission helicopter that can meet all of the mission and performance requirements. The configuration of the T-70 baseline helicopter is based on the S-70i Black Hawk helicopter,” said Mick Maurer, president of Sikorsky Military Systems.
Shares in Sikorsky’s parent United Technology rose 0.2 percent to US$86.11 in early trading in New York.
Last year, Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan said Sikorsky planned to build a helicopter plant in Turkey.