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Turkey To Build Hundreds Of UH-60 Helicopters

March 11, 2014

US UH-60 Blackhawk

Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, also known as SSM, recently signed a contract with US helicopter maker Sikorsky worth $3.5 billion for 109 UH-60 Blackhawks.

The helicopters will be manufactured in Turkey as the T-70.

The actual production falls under the expertise of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), whose involvement in the transaction dates to 2007 when it received the tender from SSM.

The deal was announced last week by Sikorsky, which is part of aerospace conglomerate United Technologies Corporation.

The full press release from Sikorsky can be read here. According to Sikorsky, the long-term agreement could lead to an estimated 600 additional helicopters built for export.

[Sikorsky]…signed agreements with the Turkish government and key Turkish aerospace contractors that license Turkey’s aerospace industry to manufacture 109 T-70 helicopters (Turkish variants of Sikorsky’s S-70i™ International BLACK HAWK helicopter) for operation by the Turkish Government, and to assemble 109 S-70i™ helicopters for Sikorsky.

The agreements license the transfer of certain manufacturing technology to Turkish industry, and provide for the potential to produce up to a total of 600 aircraft, including both T-70 units for Turkish indigenous use and S-70i™ aircraft for export over the next 30 years.

The SSM is a government ministry responsible for the armed forces’ long-term modernization drive. The deal with Sikorsky is part of their Turkish Utility Helicopter Program, whose goal is to acquire 109 helicopters for use by the military, law enforcement, and government agencies.

The Turkish military are in the process of slowly replacing their NATO-supplied “legacy” weapons and equipment with either indigenous systems or more advanced, license-built copies from abroad.

The UH-60 Blackhawk is the rotary workhorse of the US military. Since it first entered service in 1978 the Blackhawk has earned a peerless combat record as a reliable and tough helicopter. Deployed across the globe and sold in large numbers to US allies, the Blackhawk can successfully perform a variety of roles, be it transport, medical evacuation, patrols, or close-air support.