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General-automatics

Sikorsky optimistic about its global footprint

New Delhi. It seems just the right time for Sikorsky. The US helicopter giant has signed deals with Japan and South Korea to supply helicopters for search and rescue and other duties. It also announced the signing of a Blanket Ordering Agreement (BOA) with the Brunei Ministry of Defense as part of Sikorsky’s recent overarching sales contract to provide 12 S-70 Black Hawk helicopters to the Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAF).

In India , Tata Sikorsky Aerostructures, in which Tatas hold a majority 74% stake and Sikorsky the rest, makes about 4,000 parts of Sikorsky’s S-92 helicopter cabins. The company has a licence by the Indian government to manufacture a complete chopper also.

“We expect to corner around 25-30 percent of the growth in new choppers sales over next five years. We hope to get a licence very soon,” stated Sikorsky Aircraft Corp executive vice-president for India and South Asia Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Arvind Walia.

Sikorsky has so far delivered six S76 helicopters in India – all of them to Mumbai-based customers and orders for more than five choppers are being negotiated, he said.

Sikorsky is competing for 16 multi-role helicopters to the Indian Navy. “It is currently at the Request for Proposal (RfP) stage. We expect to be the lowest bidder for this contract that is pegged at about $1 billion.”

AVM Walia said the legacy of Igor Sikorsky, who pioneered helicopter development, still inspires the helicopter industry. The Legacy of Heroes tour to India and around the world recently to commemorate its founder has been an exciting journey for Sikorsky.

Visitors to the Sikorsky S-92 “Legacy One” helicopter have had a chance to experience it, step inside, interact with the pilots and crew, and sign a portion of the aircraft, thus becoming part of an interactive “postcard” to the world. Brave children felicitated on the Republic Day were taken for a ride on the chopper prior to the Sikorsky Legacy of Heroes Awards held in New Delhi to felicitate brave veterans and children.

Notably, the city of Bridgeport , Connecticut , honoured the helicopter major by renaming its airport after Igor Sikorsky. The Mission of the Sikorsky Memorial Airport is to operate effectively in accordance with the regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration. Previously the airport was called Avon Field, and on 28 Sep 1911, the first US air show was held there.

AVM Walia said that Sikorsky could also bring technology to develop and manufacture a high altitude helicopter for the Indian Army and Air Force to meet their requirements for Siachin type of terrain. “We are willing to partner with HAL and the Indian Armed Forces for this venture,” he added pointing out that such helicopters are made anywhere yet but “Sikorsky was willing to bring in some of the most advanced technologies” if the Government of India expressed interest.

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