By this time next year Sikorsky may be in a position to challenge the number one spot in commercial helicopter deliveries based on total revenue. That was the optimistic message from Jeff Pino, senior vice president, corporate strategy, marketing and commercial programs, at a Heli-Expo press conference yesterday.
Sikorsky delivered a total of 49 S-76 and S-92 helicopters worth $600 million last year, a doubling of its revenue from commercial helicopters in 2004 and an eight-fold increase from its 2002 revenue of $70 million. Total revenue for the company, including military helicopters, was $2.8 billion. By comparison, Eurocopter posted total revenue last year of about $3.8 billion.
“In 2003,” Pino said, “we committed to double total revenue, which that year was $2 billion, by 2008. We’re on our way to doing that. For each year of the last three years we’ve had our biggest year ever.” Among Sikorsky’s active military programs are a UH-60M Blackhawk contract for the U.S. Army, MH-60S and MH-60R Sea Hawk contracts for the Navy and contract for the development phase for the CH-53K for the Marines.
On the civil side, Sikorsky certified the S-76C++ on December 28 and two days later delivered the first customer aircraft. Last year it also announced the development of the S-76D, which will feature a Thales TopDeck integrated avionics system and Pratt & Whitney PW210 turboshaft engines. Customer deliveries are slated to begin in late 2008. By the end of last year, Sikorsky had delivered 18 S-92s. By the end of this year it expects the S-92 fleet to surpass 40,000 flight hours. Some operators, said Pino, are flying the S-92 as many as 160 hours per month.
On the R&D front, Pino said Sikorsky is holding to its schedule to fly the tandem-rotor X2 technology demonstrator by the end of this year. The fuselage is under construction at Schweizer (which Sikorsky owns), in Elmira, N.Y.,, and the first ground run of the demonstrator is planned for June 2006. A Schweizer 333 has already flown with the X2’s fly-by-wire system. Though not completely off the shelf, the X2 will use components from several other helicopters, including the RAH-66 Comanche’s T800 engine, driveshafts, rotors and composites, a CH-53 main rotor, S-76 actuators and S-92 vibration dampers.
Regarding the strike of 3,600 Sikorsky hourly employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and working at facilities in Connecticut and Florida, Pino said he had three points: Sikorsky is open; the company has a contingency plan (and did, in fact, deliver three helicopters last week); and Pino believes it will be a short strike. “We want to get everybody back to work,” he said. “We have a lot to do.”
The strike began on February 19 over health-care benefits. Sikorsky has 9,000-plus employees, said Pino.