Turkey, US Sikorsky to sign helicopter deal
Cengizhan Çatal ISTANBUL - HürriyetTurkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) will sign a deal with the American company Sikorsky to co-produce 109 general purpose helicopters worth $3.5 billion.
The U.S. firm has won the tender for Turkey’s general purpose helicopter production.
“This deal will be signed in the next 30 days. The helicopters completed within the framework of the program is planned to be delivered by 2018,” said Samir Mehta, president of Sikorsky Military System.
According to the deal, 109 general purpose helicopters will be jointly produced for distribution among the Land Forces Command, the Naval Forces Command and the Special Forces Command. The helicopters will be used for the purposes of combat, search and rescue and firefighting. Furthermore, helicopters can also be produced for civil organizations, if required.
In May, the country’s aerospace powerhouse, TAI, announced that it came very near to signing a $3.5- billion contract with Sikorsky Aircraft for the co-production of scores of utility helicopters.
Turkey in 2011 selected Sikorsky Aircraft as its partner company to lead production of the country’s next-generation utility helicopters. Sikorsky defeated Italian-British AgustaWestland with its T-70, the Turkish version of its S-70 Black Hawk International.
A contract was in the works since then, with industry sources expecting major hurdles during contract negotiations. The first batch of the co-production program involved 109 platforms. The S-70 Black Hawk International is used by the militaries of dozens of countries, including Turkey. AgustaWestland was competing with its TUHP 149, the Turkish version of its newly developed A-149.
Meanwhile, Turkey has said it is likely to sign a $3.4 billion-missile-defense -deal with a Chinese firm. China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp. (CPMIEC) defeated U.S. consortium, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, offering the Patriot air defense system; Russia’s Rosoboronexport, marketing the S-300; and the Italian-French consortium Eurosam, maker of the SAMP/T Aster 30.