Saturday, December 11, 2010

Turkish Utility Helicopter Decision Next Week

Turkey next week is due to select a winner in a competition between an Italian firm and a U.S. company for a major program to jointly produce its military’s next utility helicopter type. The contenders vying for the $4 billion contract are the mainly Italian AgustaWestland and the U.S. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.
The Defense Industry Executive Committee, Turkey’s top decision-making body on defense procurement – whose members include Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül, Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner and procurement chief Murad Bayar – will gather Dec. 15, one senior procurement official told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Wednesday.
“The committee is expected to choose a winner for our utility helicopter program at next week’s meeting,” the official said.
AgustaWestland is proposing its TUHP 149, a Turkish version of its A149, a newly developed utility helicopter. The A149′s full prototype will have its first flight in January.
Sikorsky Aircraft is offering the T-70, the Turkish version of the S-70 Black Hawk International, which can be found in the inventories of dozens of countries around the world, including Turkey.
The competition is for a first batch of 109 utility helicopters, mostly for the military and security forces. But the number is expected to rise to about 300 in later years.
A top Sikorsky official announced in early October that his company had a fourfold benefit package worth billions of dollars to offer to Turkey. “If Turkey selects us for the 109 helicopter program, we will buy another 109 to be manufactured in Turkey, and export them to third countries,” Steve Estill, vice president for strategic partnerships at the Sikorsky president’s office, said at the time.
Sikorsky also is proposing to buy $1.3 billion worth of Turkish-made helicopter components, to set up a regional Black Hawk support base in Turkey and to invest in a future Turkish project to build a light utility helicopter, Estill said.
Tough competition
AgustaWestland shortly later challenged Sikorsky’s proposal. “Our competition is offering the manufacture under license of an already existing product,” Guiseppe Orsi, chief executive officer of AgustaWestland said in late October. “We are offering much, much more. We are offering Turkey to become a joint developer of a brand-new product. Turkey may become a real helicopter player in the world if it chooses us.”Short URL:


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