Turkey, Sikorsky officially launch utility helicopter programme
Sikorsky, along with the Government of the Republic of Turkey and members of the Turkish aerospace industry, have activated contractual agreements under the Turkish Utility Helicopter Programme (TUHP) to produce the T70 utility helicopter based on Sikorsky’s multi-role Black Hawk utility aircraft.
Approved by the U.S. and Turkish governments, the agreements license TUHP prime contractor Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) to build and deliver 109 T70 helicopters over the next 10 years. Deliveries of T70 aircraft could begin as early as 2021 to six Turkish agencies: the Land Forces, Air Force, Gendarme, Special Forces, National Police, and the Directorate General of Forestry.
The announcement comes five years after the T70 was initially selected as the platform for the programme.
Over a 30-year timeframe, TAI also will deliver an equal number of baseline S-70i Black Hawk aircraft for export to Sikorsky. Sikorsky and TAI are in discussions to establish a joint marketing team to support Sikorsky’s sale of S-70i aircraft to new markets in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.
During the latter half of 2016, Sikorsky will provide TAI with the engineering data to establish an assembly line and begin manufacturing T70 aircraft. To launch the line, Sikorsky will deliver the first five aircraft in kit form for assembly by TAI starting in 2018. The first Turkish-built T70 aircraft will be certified and qualified for delivery to the Turkish Government in 2021.
TAI gradually will increase its manufacturing scope beyond final assembly and test to include all airframe structures and composite rotor blades. In addition to TAI’s workscope, Alp Aviation, a Sikorsky joint venture, will precision-machine the dynamic components and flight controls and assemble landing gear and transmissions.
Aselsan and Sikorsky will co-develop an enhanced digital cockpit known as the Integrated Modular Avionics System (IMAS); and Turkish Engine Industries (TEI) will build engines under license from General Electric (GE).
To facilitate the development and integration of the IMAS, Sikorsky will transfer to Aselsan a new S-70i helicopter to be utilized as the Prototype Turkish Utility Helicopter for the qualification of the new avionics system in 2019.
TAI will produce T70 aircraft in two configurations – 89 aircraft in common utility configuration and 20 aircraft in a firefighting configuration for the Directorate General of Forestry. Delivery of all 109 T70 aircraft is to be concluded by 2026.
The TUHP programme is valued at approximately $3.5bn for 109 T70 aircraft, inclusive of the work to be performed by Sikorsky, TAI and other suppliers. Options exist for TAI to produce up to 600 total T70 and S-70i helicopters.