In a move sure to amaze Western rotorcraft makers, Russia’s Kamov has announced it will sell a hoped-for total of 145 of its Ka-50-2 Black Shark helicopters to the Turkish military in a six-year contract worth some $2.1 billion. The deal, should it be formally sealed by year-end, said Kamov officials, will come as something of a shock to Bell Helicopter, which has been courting the Turkish government for years.
The merger of Russia’s two leading helicopter makers is inevitable, according to Sergey Mikheyev, constructor general of Kamov, one of the two companies involved. “I believe that the merger of design bureaus, mass production plants and adjacent enterprises in a single helicopter-building association is inevitable and will happen sooner or later,” Mikheyev told reporters in Moscow on August 12.
Sikorsky has begun the tooling process for the U.S. Marine Corps’ next-generation CH-53K heavylift helicopter, while General Electric is preparing to run the intended powerplant for the first time next January. Those events keep the program on track for a first flight scheduled for the first quarter of 2012. Around 90 percent of the supplier base has been selected.
Dean Borgman, president of Sikorsky Aircraft since 1998, has been appointed chairman of the company. Named to succeed him as president is Stephen Finger, who previously served as president of Pratt & Whitney’s military engines business. Both appointments took effect last month.
“I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”–Sir Winston Churchill, radio speech, 1939.
Eurocopter now hopes to obtain certification for its EC 225 by early next year instead of in the third quarter of this year, as previously stated. According to the Franco-German helicopter manufacturer, the civil EC 225 is planned to be certified before qualification of its military sister, the EC 725, both of which are upgraded variants of the AS 332L2 Super Puma.
After nearly two decades, India’s first indigenous rotorcraft is poised for civil certification in that nation this month, with FAA/ JAA approval expected within the year. And as its creators reveal more details of its design, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.’s (HAL) Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) emerges as a capable, cleverly executed design, clearly able to hold its own against any modern design from the West.
In an apparent effort to assuage British pressure to adopt the Anglo-Italian EH-101 as the follow-on to the White House’s aged fleet of Sikorsky VH-3S operated as Marine One for Presidential transport, Sikorsky has quietly agreed to add some British content to the S-92s it would modify for that mission.
SkyTrac’s automated flight following and satellite communication system has received FAA STC and Transport Canada Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) approval for installation in Robinson R22s and R44s. SkyTrac is already approved for installation in various AgustaWestland, Bell, Eurocopter and Sikorsky models.
The Polish Ministry of Health has ordered 23 Eurocopter EC 135s for its nationwide EMS network. Deliveries will be spread over 2009 and 2010. The