New Export Gains for Boeing CH-47s and Sikorsky UH-60s

 - August 29, 2011, 4:40 AM
British Defence Minister Liam Fox confirmed an order for more Chinooks. (Photo: UK Ministry of Defence). Sikorsky has delivered the first S-70i versions of the Black Hawk. (Photo: Chris Pocock)

Boeing and Sikorsky are gaining new export business worth over $2 billion for Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters, respectively.  

The UK Royal Air Force confirmed a long-mooted order for additional Chinooks, settling for another 14 in a contract worth $1.64 billion that also includes support over five years. The heavy-lift helicopters will be in the new HC.6 configuration, which adds the Thales Top Deck cockpit that is also being retrofitted to the UK’s existing fleet of 48 Chinooks. Turkey signed a contract for six CH-47Fs worth more than $400 million. Boeing is renovating the Chinook production line to cope with increased demand.

Meanwhile, Sikorsky reported delivery of the first three S-70i Black Hawks to an undisclosed customer, which AIN previously reported to be the Ministry of Interior of Saudi Arabia. The S-70i is an international variant being produced in Poland at the PZL Meilic facility, which is owned by Sikorsky. The model is similar to the U.S. Army UH-60M version. Six helicopters have already been assembled and flight-tested in Poland, with 10 more scheduled for next year and 22 in 2013. Sikorsky has invested more than $100 million at Meilic, which now employs more than 2,000 people, an increase of 30 percent.

Within the last two months, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified the potential sale of five Sikorsky UH-60Ms to the United Arab Emirates and three UH-60Ms to Thailand.

The UAE helicopters would be in a VIP configuration and have Star Safire forward-looking infrared and various threat-warning systems. The Thai deal would be worth $235 million including logistics support.

Last November, the DSCA notified the potential sale of 72 UH-60Ms to the Saudi Armed Forces, as part of a $30 billion package, which also includes Boeing F-15s and attack helicopters. The contract has not yet been concluded.