Sikorsky Aircraft completed the first flight of an optionally piloted Black Hawk demonstrator last month in a joint effort with the U.S. Army, the company said on April 21. The Black Hawk serves as a second testbed (joining an S-76) for Sikorsky’s Matrix research program to develop and field systems for autonomous vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.
Sometimes it’s the personal touch that makes the difference. Sergei Sikorsky, retired vice president of special products for Sikorsky Helicopters (Booth No. 2822) and son of the company’s namesake, Igor Sikorsky, presented an informative history of the search-and-rescue pedigree of vertical lift aircraft during Heli-Expo 2014.
“In December 1938 Igor Sikorsky presented the case to United Aircraft to develop the helicopter,” said Sikorsky. “He told United that, when developed, the helicopter would prove to be a unique instrument for saving human lives,” he continued.
Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services was re-certified as a Sikorsky authorized S-76 and S-61 overhaul and repair center and as a Sikorsky authorized customer support center for the S-76. Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services will continue to provide Sikorsky operators with scheduled maintenance for the S-76 and repair, major overhaul and testing of certain S-76 and S-61 components.
While Sikorsky Aircraft’s parent company, United Technologies (UTC), reported improvement in its second-quarter earnings compared with last year, the helicopter manufacturer itself experienced a decrease of 3 percent in sales, a 24-percent decrease in operating profit and a drop in return on sales of 2.8 basis points. In a webcast today, Greg Hays, CFO of UTC, attributed the decreases partly to weak military aftermarket sales, which he said were down 25 percent, and the fact that sequestration is making it harder to process orders for spares.
The first four flying versions of the U.S. Marine Corps’ next generation CH-53K helicopter were advancing through assembly at Sikorsky Aircraft’s West Palm Beach, Florida, facility earlier this year. “We’re well beyond the paper side of the aircraft. We’re building this thing,” Marine Col. Robert Pridgen, H-53 program manager, told reporters at the Navy League conference in April.
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.
The Danish government signed a letter of intent to acquire nine MH-60R Seahawk helicopters through a U.S. foreign military sale valued at $686 million. Denmark is the second foreign nation after Australia to buy the maritime helicopter, manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft with mission systems integration by Lockheed Martin.
Sikorsky and Ruili Jingcheng Group (RJG) signed two contracts for the introduction of an S-92 and S-76D, marking Sikorsky’s first S-92 helicopter sale to a private Chinese operator and the first-ever S-76D sale into China. The signing took place today at Airshow China 2012 in Zhuhai. Both aircraft will be configured for airline use.
The Sikorsky Innovations Entrepreneurial Challenge, now in its second year, saw a significant increase in entries over last year, a sign that the competition is gaining interest among its target audience: entrepreneurial companies looking “to understand some of the toughest issues facing the vertical flight community and to identify their technology as relevant to one or more of these issues.” The Challenge is open to any small company with revenue under $5 million, including newly formed and pre-revenue entities.
Technology entrepreneurs take your marks! This year’s Sikorsky Innovations Entrepreneurial Challenge is open for submissions, but you have to act fast. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 10. Sikorsky Innovations is a division of Sikorsky Aircraft.
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