The Obama administration delivered a proposed $496 billion base U.S. defense budget for Fiscal Year 2015 to the Congress on March 4. In a round of briefings at the Pentagon, service budget officials spoke of making difficult choices because of spending limits Congress imposed in the Budget Control Act of 2011, followed by deep “sequestration” budget cuts that took effect in FY2013.
Last Friday Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced that his government had signed a $3.5 billion contract with Sikorsky for the co-production of 109 T-70 utility transport helicopters, based on the Sikorsky S-70i International Black Hawk. The announcement comes nearly three years after Turkey had declared the T-70 as its preferred choice for the TUHP (Turkey utility helicopter program) requirement, and some seven months after it had been revealed that there were to be delays in finally putting pen to paper.
Milestone Aviation Group signed a purchase contract today at Heli-Expo for eight AgustaWestland helicopters as part of the companies’ framework agreement, which was initially announced in September last year. The latest contract is for five AW139s and three AW189s for delivery by year-end. The framework agreement–which covers firm orders and options for 44 aircraft delivering over the next four years, when fully executed–represents the largest civilian helicopter sale in AgustaWestland history.
It takes the right tooling to make a helicopter come together, and sometimes it takes teamwork to create that tooling. Professional Aviation Associates (Booth No. 4006), a subsidiary of Greenwich AeroGroup, worked in tandem with Aerosync Engineering & Consulting recently to deliver two UH60 Black Hawk fuselage and tailcone alignment fixtures to the Colombian air force.
Helicopter engine manufacturer Turbomeca, a Safran company, delivered 984 engines last year and repaired an additional 1,499, resulting in an 8-percent increase in revenues over 2012, chairman and CEO Olivier Andriès reported yesterday at Heli-Expo. He singled out the agreement to supply Arrius 2R engines for Bell Helicopter’s 505 Jet Ranger X, announced at last year’s Paris Air Show, as a milestone for both companies, and an indication of growth to come. “In 75 years of history, the two leading companies the helicopter world had never, ever partnered before.”
An expert panel of senior Russian rotorcraft executives pointed to forecast surging demand for small and medium helicopters in their market between now and 2018. During the seventh annual “Russian Hour” here at Heli-Expo, Russia’s Helicopter Industry Association pointed to large structural changes under way in both the number and the make-up of the nation’s helicopter market, one that for the moment that continues to be dominated by heavy helicopters.
Sometimes it’s the personal touch that makes the difference. Sergei Sikorsky, retired vice president of special products for Sikorsky Helicopters (Booth No. 2822) and son of the company’s namesake, Igor Sikorsky, presented an informative history of the search-and-rescue pedigree of vertical lift aircraft during Heli-Expo 2014.
“In December 1938 Igor Sikorsky presented the case to United Aircraft to develop the helicopter,” said Sikorsky. “He told United that, when developed, the helicopter would prove to be a unique instrument for saving human lives,” he continued.
Gyronimo’s Performance Pad iPad app combines weight-and-balance and performance calculations to help pilots quickly and accurately plan flights without any tedious paperwork.
In the military segment, while clearly concerned with continuing budget constraints, Sikorsky expects to achieve two milestones this year with the first flights of the CH-53K, the latest version of its heavy-lift military transport, and the S-97 Raider.
MD Helicopters unveiled its new MD 530G armed aerial scout helicopter yesterday at Heli-Expo. It also revealed that it is already flying the new model and plans to have it certified in the second quarter, with deliveries slated for the third quarter. The company is now taking orders for the $4- to $5 million single-engine helicopter, which will come standard with Moog’s new weapons system platform.
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