Sikorksy deal delay ‘hits’ Turkey-US ties

Sikorksy deal delay ‘hits’ Turkey-US ties

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Sikorksy deal delay ‘hits’ Turkey-US ties

Sikorsky has previously sold hundreds of Black Hawks to the Turkish military and dozens of S-70B Seahawk naval helicopters to the Turkish Navy. DHA photo

A dispute between Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) and U.S. Sikorsky Aircraft over finalizing a multibillion dollar helicopter development is one of the problems in mutual relations, a United States official has said.

Sikorsky won a first batch of 109 mainly military utility helicopters, worth about $3.5 billion, defeating Italy’s AgustaWestland to win the tender. But the two parties have failed to sign a contract 20 months after the U.S. company won the major Turkish deal to build a number of utility helicopters for military and civilian institutions.

An American official, addressing a large group of Turkish and American defense industrialists during the closed part of a session in Ankara yesterday, said the failure to sign a contract was among the problems facing the two countries, according to other attendees.

“You must re-negotiate it,” he said, addressing all parties, according to attendees.

One Sikorsky official told the Hürriyet Daily News that talks were continuing with the Turkish procurement office and the SSM. An SSM official, meanwhile, said there was no problem.

Sikorsky was offering its T-70 Black Hawk, the Turkish version of its S-70 Black Hawk International. AgustaWestland was competing with its TUHP 149, the Turkish version of its newly developed A-149.

The Turkish decision came at the end of a final round of talks with the two competing companies.

“Some important components of the helicopters, such as body, engine, avionic systems and task software, will be produced in Turkey as TAI [Akıncı-based Turkish Aerospace Industries] will be the main contractor,” then-Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül said at the time. The Eskişehir-based Alp Havacılık is also expected to become a major Turkish partner.

Sales to third parties

Sikorsky has previously sold hundreds of Black Hawks to the Turkish military and dozens of S-70B Seahawk naval helicopters to the Turkish Navy. The U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Frank Ricciardone, said May 4 that Sikorsky and Turkey would jointly build more than 600 Black Hawk helicopters mainly for sale to third countries. “We will see over 600 Black Hawk helicopters, very high technology helicopters, produced here in Turkey. The great majority of these helicopters will go to third markets, third countries,” Ricciardone told a Turkish-American council meeting.

In his May 4 speech, Ricciardone said the U.S. supported Turkey’s ambitious target to become one of the world’s 10 largest economies by 2023. In the first batch of 109 helicopters, Sikorsky and its Turkish partners were expected to build military helicopters mainly for the Gendarmerie forces and the Army, Navy, Air Force and Special Forces Command. The remaining helicopters were to go to the Police Department and the Firefighting Department.

Other copter deals

In addition to the utility helicopters, the country is coproducing with AgustaWestland a total of 60 T-129 attack helicopters, Turkish versions of the A-129 Mangusta International, for billions of dollars. Deliveries are due to start at the end of this year.

Turkey also signed a $400 million contract last summer with U.S. Boeing to buy six CH-47D heavy-lift helicopters.

The nature of Turkey’s dispute with Sikorsky could not be understood, but it could be related to its potential customers. One analyst said it would be resolved as Sikorsky is a major company and the words of Ricciardone would not be rejected.

US-Turkey defense and aviation talks start in Ankara

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

High-level defense talks were launched yesterday between delegations from Turkey and the United States. The talks were led by Murad Bayar, chief of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), and U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for International Commerce Francisco Sanchez.

The Ankara meeting was hosted and sponsored by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB). Several defense companies from the two countries took part in the defense negotiations in the third visit of Sanchez to Turkey in his tenure since 2009. Turkey’s defense exports were $1,089 billion in 2011, representing a rise from $832 million in 2009 and $853 in 2010. The U.S team to Turkey includes representatives from AdChem Manufacturing, Allied Wire & Cable, Bell Helicopter, Boeing, Composite Engineering, Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense, FLIR Systems, General Electric, Industrial Metals, Infinity Air, IOMAX, ITT Exelis, Moog Components Group, Northrop Grumman, Nova Power Solutions, OSIsoft, Sikorsky, SpaceX and Trimble.