Sikorsky envisions Turkey as her Strategic Business Partner

Steve Estill, Vice President and Chi

Issue 7 - January 2008

Defence Turkey: Could you please share with us the growth process, strategies and vision of Sikorsky who has become of global importance since she was established? What are Sikorsky’s short term and long term goals?

Sikorsky is a dynamic company that is transforming its business in a number of ways to adapt to an ever-changing global business environment. We are outsourcing non-core fabrication that was previously done at our facilities in Connecticut and instead are concentrating on integration and final assembly.

Given our huge US Government and international orders and resulting production demand, our current supply base simply doesn’t have the capacity to produce at the speed required to keep up with our order book. The US Government projects a potential need for more than 1,700 BLACK HAWK and SEAHAWK helicopters to be built

for the US Army and Navy, and a solesource contract to develop the CH-53K heavylift helicopters for the US Marine Corps with a projected production program of more than 220 aircraft. In light of that, we need flexibility

in case of unanticipated work impediments. That’s why we acquired Keystone Helicopter, where much of our commercial work will be done,

Schweizer, home of the Sikorsky HAWK WORKS Schweizer Aircraftsmfacility, which does military

derivative work, and PZL Mielec, which will launch us into the European market.

Defence Turkey:It can be seen that companies are directed toward new and original designs due to increase in competition within the globalization context. We all know Sikorsky has been very succesful in the aerospace field. Could you enlighten us as to Sikorsky’s technological studies, new products and research and development activities? Also please tell us about the studies regarding X2 Technology in vertical flight and the innovation this

technology has set forth.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. is building and plans on testing a new X2 Technology demonstrator that improves on all the vertical flight capabilities of rotorcraft and whose high-speed configuration

will cruise at 250 knots. Preliminary design work for the X2 Technology demonstrator is finished, and parts fabrication for the aircraft has commenced at the HAWK WORKS Schweizer Aircraft facility. The fuselage structure is complete as are the blades and dynamics. Subsystem integration and installation is well underway. The fly-by-wire flight controls system is being tested in the systems integration bench facility. Ground testing of the aircraft including start of LHTEC T-800 engine, began in Nov. 2006. This is a 100 percent internally funded program. We are targeting first flight for 4Q 2007. With all the work accomplished to date,we remain confident that we will meet our program objectives of 250 knots cruise with low


Defence Turkey: What are the ongoing programmes and current projects that Sikorsky is carrying

out in the US and international market?

Sikorsky is producing the new UH 60M helicopter for the US Army and the MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters for the US Navy. There is also the CH 53K heavy-lift helicopter development program for the USMC. Our new S-92helicopter with which your Prime Minister is quite familiar has quickly become the helicopter of choice both for Heads of State/Government and other VIPs as well as for offshore operations. I believe an H-92 helicopter will also fit military transport missions. We are filling a market gap with the first delivery of this H-92 helicopter in early 2009. Initial deliveries are in a maritime configuration. The other big gap is a BLACK HAWK helicopter in a price range that international customers can afford – I mean a 10-ton Helicopter at a 6-ton price. That’s going to be the INTERNATIONAL BLACK HAWK helicopter, which will be built internationally for international customers.

Defence Turkey: Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation took a major step toward establishing its European operations foundation, completing the acquisition of aircraft maker PZL Mielec

from the Polish government.In this respect INTERNATIONAL BLACK HAWK production is being realized in Poland.What are your international marketing objectives and plans in line with

this recent investment?

The acquisition of PZL Mielec in Poland is part of Sikorsky Aircraft’s globalization strategy to capture a larger share of the European market in

addition to gaining additional capacity. It’s similar to what a number of European defense companies are doing to capture more of the US defense market. Sikorsky views Turkey, Poland and Sikorsky as the “dream team” for the INTERNATIONAL BLACK HAWK helicopter. While PZL Mielec would build INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONAL

BLACK HAWK helicopter cabins, final assemble and flight test the “green” helicopter, Turkey is well positioned to produce not only the empennages but a significant portion of the remainder of the helicopter, including dynamic component parts if Turkey wants to make that investment. In addition, I agree with SSM that

Turkish industry, specifically TAI, is ready to move beyond fabrication. That’s why we’ve offered to make TAI a “completion center” for the INTERNATIONAL BLACK HAWK helicopter, with all of the attendant design and development opportunities I’ve mentioned.

Defence Turkey:Sikorsky has signed significant contracts with Turkey and Turkey has become one of the major international clients of Sikorsky. Within this context how do you assess the activities performed over the years? What are your objectives related with Turkey and your stance regarding investment possibilities in Turkey that was previously envisaged? Can Turkey,

due to her geopolitical location and developing defense technologies, be considered a team player

in Sikorsky’s Middle East marketing strategies and eventually reach success?

It goes without saying that Turkey has been one of our most strategic international customers. We’re proud of that heritage, and that’s why we call Turkey an “anchor country,” along with a

handful of others. Now, we need to move beyond that vendor-customer relationship. I mentioned the INTERNATIONAL BLACK HAWK helicopter. We’re looking for “business partners,” not just customers. Sikorsky sees Turkey, with its large HAWK fleet, infrastructure, and an aerospace industry that has become world-class as our most logical partner for highend/ high-tech INTERNATIONAL BLACK HAWK helicopter work.

Sikorsky expects the demand for

BLACK HAWK helicopters in the

region to continue to be very high.

Defence Turkey: How do you assess Sikorsky’s efforts and position concerning the acquisition

of 54 helicopters and heavy lift helicopter by the Turkish Armed Forces that is in Turkey’s


As I implied earlier, the primary interest of Sikorsky Aircraft is not “selling” more helicopters to Turkey. People are surprised when I say that, but in Turkey, we want a “business partner,” more than a “customer.” In its TSK bid,

Sikorsky Aircraft made it clear we are prepared to work with SSM and our many Turkish suppliers to take Turkey to the front ranks of this industry. This would involve cooperation from design and development to manufacturing, assembly and testing, marketing and export, not to mention regional training and fleet management and aftersales support. In our TSK bid, we offer to make TAI a “completion center” for base configuration helicopters produced in our PZL Mielec facility. Our objective would be for TAI to take the base configuration helicopter and then design, develop, manufacture and integrate the additional systems that would turn it into the type of helicopter the customer Turkish or otherwise wants. That could range anywhere between a utility or troop transport

helicopter to a search-and-rescue helicopter

to a fire-fighting helicopter all the way to an Armed BLACK HAWK helicopter. This is the most cost effective way to build BLACK HAWK helicopters for the international market. Under this Strategic Business Partnership and exercising careful program planning, Sikorsky Aircraft and SSM can begin delivery relatively

quickly of our INTERNATIONAL BLACK HAWK helicopter to Turkey.

Defence Turkey: Sikorsky has cooperated with such Turkish companies as TAI, Alp Havacilik, Aselsan, Milsoft in the past and is presently doing so. What are your views and plans in doing

more intense cooperative work with Turkish companies?

As I mentioned, Turkey is potentially a key player in our globalization strategy. In fact, in many ways, it already is. TAI has, under our offset program, for several years produced the empennages, or tail sections, for many BLACK HAWK helicopters. Alp Havacilik is Sikorsky’s only non-US supplier of flight safety parts. Aselsan manufactures critical avionics components

BLACK HAWK and SEAHAWK helicopters, and MilSOFT has provided software for the S-92 helicopter onboard maintentance computer and SEAHAWK avionics integration. Havelsan is currently building BLACK HAWK and SEAHAWK flight simulators

with Sikorsky-provided data under for the HELSIM program. I say that Turkey is “potentially” a key player in our globalization strategy only

because Turkey has the opportunity to play a much larger role in the BLACK HAWK Helicopter Program. Then, there’s also the CH-53K Helicopter

Program. If SSM, Turkish industry and Sikorsky Aircraft are able to agree on a shared vision of a true “strategic business partnership,” there’s every reason that the CH-53K Helicopter Program can be a part of that vision.