Turkey Chooses Sikorsky Helo in $3.5B Deal

The first S-701 Black Hawk helicopter completes its test flight program in October 2010. (Photo: Sikorsky)

Turkey selected Sikorsky Aircraft as its partner company to lead production of the country’s next-generation utility helicopters.

Sikorsky defeated AgustaWestland for the $3.5 billion deal for a first batch of 109 platforms, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul told reporters.

The decision came at a meeting of the Defense Industry Executive Committee, Turkey’s highest decision-making body on defense procurement. The committee’s members include Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Gen. Isik Kosaner, chief of the General Staff, procurement chief Murad Bayar and Gonul.

The move came after a final round of talks with the two rival companies, in which the firms had been asked to cut their prices.

The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, Turkey’s procurement office, and Sikorsky Aircraft now will launch contract negotiations for building the first batch of utility helicopters.

Sikorsky offered its T-70, the Turkish version of its S-70 Black Hawk International, which is used by the militaries of dozens of countries, including Turkey. AgustaWestland was competing with its TUHP 149, the Turkish version of its newly developed A-149.

The first batch will be for 109 utility helicopters, but with follow-on orders more than 600 platforms could be built at a cost of more than $20 billion, according to defense analysts.

Sikorsky and AgustaWestland had announced benefit packages worth billions of dollars each. Several Turkish companies, most notably Turkish Aerospace Industries, will take part in the joint production.

Most of the helicopters in the first batch will go to the military, with the Gendarmerie receiving the largest portion, and the army, navy, air force and the special forces command all getting their shares.

The remaining choppers will go to the Security Directorate, meaning the police forces, and to the Firefighting Department.

Ankara – DefenseNews