Employees at PZL Mielec, together with representatives from Polish suppliers, today celebrated the completion and shipment of the 300th BLACK HAWK helicopter cabin built in Poland.
The cabin, a complex structure the size of a cargo van, is made from around 3,000 separate components. Completed cabins are joined to the S-70i™ BLACK HAWK aircraft produced at the PZL factory or are shipped to a sister factory in the U.S., where they are mated to UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopters for the U.S. Army. Additional cabins also are manufactured by Sikorsky in the United States.
“The successful assembly and delivery of 300 BLACK HAWK helicopter cabins made in Poland since 2009 underlines the skills and capabilities of the 1,550 employees at PZL Mielec,” said Janusz Zakrecki, General Director and President of PZL Mielec during a March 14 ceremony in the Mielec flight hangar. “I thank our workforce and supplier base for helping to generate as much as 60 percent of PZL’s revenue in 2015, and for confirming in the minds of our military customers around the world that Polish workmanship is world-class.”
A major exporter, PZL Mielec has grown to become a cornerstone of Poland’s aerospace and defense industry. More than 50 Polish suppliers support the production of S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopters at the PZL facility, which also produces the aircraft’s tail cone and pylon structures, and conducts flight test and modifications to customer requirements.
The cabin is the BLACK HAWK helicopter’s largest component, and the primary load bearing structure for internal and external cargo. Weighing just over 1,000 kg, each cabin also must support the aircraft’s fuel tanks, engines and main rotor gearbox and transmission. A cabin takes approximately 40 days to assemble.
“For several years, PZL Mielec has been manufacturing cabins independently, without direct support from Sikorsky in the United States,” said Michael Gordon, Vice President of Operations Strategy at Sikorsky, who attended the delivery ceremony. “We value the PZL facility for the same reason we purchased the company nine years ago — because PZL has a world class workforce that is motivated to produce high quality products for some of the world’s most demanding customers at a cost that is very competitive. We remain committed to the long-term success and growth of this operation.”
PZL Mielec, the largest Lockheed Martin production plant outside the United States, has the capacity to build 24 BLACK HAWK helicopters each year. Five countries now fly BLACK HAWK aircraft built in Poland. Depending on customer requirements, the production line at PZL Mielec can deliver aircraft that are fully armored and weaponized.
In addition to making valuable contributions to the Polish national economy through export earnings today, PZL Mielec is actively working to help develop and retain Poland’s technological advantage and engineering excellence for the future. The Company provides generous funding to support university programs across Poland to help develop a deeper pool of highly trained and highly capable technical talent.
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