25-May-2012 Source: Sikorsky
Sikorsky Aircraft’sÂ Troy, Ala., facility announced today it has completed the structural modernization of its first S-61Tâ„¢Â airframe, which will now undergo completion at Carson Helicopters for eventual delivery to the U.S. State Department for diplomatic service in Afghanistan.Â Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
The State Department signed an agreement in 2010 to purchase up to 110 modernized S-61â„¢Â aircraft that Sikorsky is refurbishing under its S-61Tâ„¢Â Program, managed by its aftermarket business Sikorsky Aerospace Services. The program includes the upgrade and installation of composite main rotor blades, state-of-the-art glass cockpit, modular wiring harness, and modern survivability and force protection enhancements â€“ all of which dramatically improve aircraft capability and supportability. These enhancements result in an aircraft with improved safety, and 15 percent greater performance with a lower operating cost.Â The number of aircraft the State Department purchases will depend upon need and availability of government funding.
“With its rugged endurance, spaciousness and lift capabilities, the Sikorsky S-61 helicopter has proven to be a dependable, multi-mission aircraft and provides a capable solution for our customers looking for a utility aircraft with a legacy of strength and reliability. Our S-61 helicopter is the best value proposition in the industry,” saidÂ John Johnson, S-61 Program Director, Sikorsky Aerospace Services.
Sikorsky Aerospace Services launched the program in 2010 with Carson Helicopters, and so far has delivered 14 modernized S-61 aircraft to the State Department.
TheÂ TroyÂ facility employs more than 640 people and produces SEAHAWKÂ®Â airframes, and BLACK HAWK and CH148 Cycloneâ„¢Â subassemblies for U.S. and foreign military customers.Â In 2012, the facility also began modernizing S-61 airframes for the upgrade program to take better advantage of available production capacity. Previously the airframes were all modernized at Carson Helicopters in Perkasie, Penn.Â TheÂ TroyÂ facility has developed capacity to refurbish up to six aircraft in flow, with the program employing more than 100 people.
The S-61 helicopter has long been acclaimed as an industry workhorse. For more than 50 years, the aircraft have reliably and safely performed missions for U.S. and foreign allied militaries. The latest airframe first entered service as an SH-3D aircraft with the U.S. Navy inÂ November 1966Â and primarily performed antisubmarine warfare.
“Our workforce here inÂ TroyÂ is highly skilled and understands the importance of the work we do in support of our nation and military allies,” said facility General ManagerÂ Jason Lambert.Â “Completion of this first modernized airframe represents a big milestone for us.Â Our team is extremely proud of our ability to utilize world class lean manufacturing techniques to create capacity for this important program.”
Sikorsky Aerospace Services, a Sikorsky company, provides comprehensive support to rotary- and fixed-wing operators throughout the world. It offers its military and commercial customers a full portfolio of support services, including material distribution, maintenance, overhaul & repair, aircraft modifications and life-cycle support. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based inStratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. Â United Technologies Corp., based inÂ Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.