The three medium-lift aircraft are among six S-70i BLACK HAWK aircraft assembled and flight tested at PZL Mielec since the Polish company became part of U.S.-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in 2007. They departed Poland’s Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport inside an Antonov An-124 Ruslan cargo aircraft following a week of flight acceptance activities in the skies over Poland.
“PZL Mielec has proven it can build and flight test a new variant of the BLACK HAWK helicopter to the very highest standards,” said Robert Mastronardi, S-70i senior program manager, Sikorsky Military Systems. “The aircraft acceptance process confirmed the high quality of these aircraft and professionalism of the PZL Mielec team.”
The company plans to expand production to 10 aircraft in 2012, and to 22 helicopters in 2013.
The S-70i helicopter can be configured for multiple missions, such as troop support, humanitarian relief, VIP transport, search and rescue, medical evacuation, and armed patrol.
“The S-70i helicopter features typical BLACK HAWK reliability, and excellent performance coupled with the most modern avionics to reduce pilot workload,” said Leszek Pawuła, S-70i test pilot at PZL Mielec. “The aircraft provides a safe and stable platform for equipment needed to perform many varied missions, retaining its extreme maneuverability. It’s pure pleasure to fly this helicopter.”
The aircraft’s two T700-GE701D engines, digital avionics, and modern wide chord rotor blades produce the same power and lift performance as the UH-60M BLACK HAWK aircraft flown by the U.S. Army.
Advanced avionics — also standard to the S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter — include a fully integrated digital cockpit, a dual digital automatic flight control system and coupled flight director, an active vibration control system, and a dual GPS/INS system with digital map.
A proven performer, the BLACK HAWK consistently maintains reliability rates of approximately 85 percent, even when flying in harsh environments.
Since 2007, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation has invested more than $100 million to establish a modern production operation at the PZL Mielec facility, increasing employment by 30 percent. Since the arrival of the BLACK HAWK production, PZL Mielec has increased its employment numbers and now employs over 2,000 people. As a key investor in the Polish “Aviation Valley,” Sikorsky has stimulated the development of the domestic aviation industry.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., USA, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., USA, provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
View related photo: Sikorsky S-70i helicopter first delivery