Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), today delivered to the U.S. Army the fourth of 15 UH-60M BLACK HAWK aircraft for further transfer to the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV).
Sikorsky is building and delivering all 15 UH-60M aircraft to an accelerated 18-month production schedule that began in May, 2011. Seven aircraft are on schedule for delivery to the U.S. Army September through December, with eight additional deliveries through the fall of 2012.
The FMV is procuring the 15 aircraft via the U.S. Government's Foreign Military Sales program. The accelerated build schedule will enable the Swedish Armed Forces to deploy three UH-60M aircraft to Afghanistan in April, 2013. The Swedish Armed Forces will use the aircraft for medical evacuation, utility, and search and rescue missions.
"The Black Hawk Utility Helicopter (UH-60) is the world's best current and future force utility helicopter," said Gregory D. Gore, Deputy Project Manager, U.S. Army Utility Helicopters Project Office. "The UH-60 provides all commanders with rapid and agile maneuver capability through air assault, general support, command and control, and MEDEVAC missions. These features will provide Sweden an unparalleled asset to support their primary mission of medical evacuation and troop transport in Afghanistan as these aircraft are fielded in 2013."
Gore made his remarks during the delivery ceremony today at Sikorsky Aircraft's Stratford headquarters attended by senior members of the FMV and the Swedish Armed Forces.
Sweden is the first European country to acquire the U.S. Army's UH-60M BLACK HAWK aircraft. Introduced into service with the U.S. Army in 2007, the 'M' model is the latest variant of the world's most successful medium-lift military utility helicopter. Sweden's aircraft come equipped from Sikorsky with an advanced flight control system to reduce pilot workload, full night vision device capability for night operations, and a state-of-the-art communications suite.
The U.S. Army will further modify the aircraft with a variety of equipment, including an exterior rescue hoist, gunner seats, armored floor, stackable litters, a cockpit heater and environmental control system.
Swedish aircrew - already flight qualified in UH-60M aircraft at the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, Ala. - will receive follow on unit training at the Swedish Air Force base in Linkoping following the arrival of the first four unmodified aircraft in Sweden in early 2012. Sikorsky Aerospace Services and Swedish defense and security company Saab will provide maintainer training and long-term logistics support for the fleet.
"Close collaboration with the U.S. Army is enabling Sikorsky to build these UH-60M BLACK HAWK aircraft 18 months ahead of a typical production schedule," said John Pacelli, Sikorsky's Vice President for International Military Business. "We're very pleased our joint efforts will meet Sweden's urgent requirement for new helicopters and associated training and logistic support in time for deployment."
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