Buoyed by several years of steady growth and a healthy $6.8 billion in sales recorded in 2012, Sikorsky is on the right track and gaining momentum, president Mick Maurer said yesterday.
With a multi-year, multi-service Black Hawk and Seahawk contract in hand valued at $89.5 billion and an S-76D backlog valued at around $700 million, the Stratford, Conn. manufacturer is anticipating a bright 2013.
Maurer described a 2013 “tailwind” on the commercial helicopter side, with the S-76D now in production and production nearly sold out through 2014, and a $1.5 billion backlog for the company’s hottest-selling S-92. The commercial aviation business, he added, is expected to grow by about $500 million in 2013.
Maurer was enthusiastic about the new S-97 armed aerial scout program, which he said may appear exotic but is actually a combination of proven technologies with a price tag of $15 million. The program is proceeding in a 50-50 partnership with Boeing “in terms of investment, work and return.” And he added, “In the future of vertical lift, this will be the biggest program ever.”
Three factors suggest a relatively strong market for helicopters in the coming years:
• offshore oil, which accounts for roughly three quarters of commercial business.
• demand for oil that continues to grow, with the most growth coming from developing markets.
• and a shift to deeper-water offshore oil exploration and recovery.
While demand for helicopters in the U.S. is expected to slip in the coming years, Maurer said Sikorsky expects to see demand, both civil and military, grow in other parts of the world, with the next areas of focus in Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.
He concluded by inviting those present to visit the Sikorsky Aircraft exhibit to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the company and to pay respect to Igor Sikorsky, who founded the company in 1923 on a chicken farm in New York with only a dozen employees. Today, said Maurer, Sikorsky employs 16,000 in a global enterprise dedicated to Igor’s vision of producing aircraft that save lives.