Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior has ordered 40 Sikorsky helicopters in a deal valued at approximately $2 billion, the U.S.-based manufacturer announced here yesterday. The contract breaks down into 16 S-92 heavy twins, 15 S-76D medium twins and nine Schweizer 434 light singles. The contract calls for deliveries to begin in March 2008.
The still-in-development Schweizer 434 is derived from the existing Model 333. “It will have more capability than the 333 in terms of payload and performance,” David Savage, international sales and marketing manager, told AIN. The current Schweizer 333 has a payload of 757 pounds with full fuel. A 280-shp Rolls-Royce turboshaft powers its three-blade rotor. Depending on the version, cruise speed approaches 100 knots.
The S-76s and the S-92s will serve in search and rescue, fire fighting and medical missions. They will also find roles in security and traffic surveillance. They can switch from one mission to another thanks to quick-change equipment. According to Sikorsky, the Saudis had issued a request for proposals to six helicopter manufacturers early in 2006.
The manufacturer also said it has signed “contracts for S-92 VVIP/head-of-state aircraft for other customers in the region” including Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey and Turkmenistan.