Feb 19, 2014

Turkey gears up efforts for indigenous helicopter production

Another sign has emerged that Turkey’s defense industry planners are serious about their ambition to manufacture an indigenous helicopter locally.
A Rotor Technology Center has been launched. The move comes as part of a June 2013 contract signed with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).
The center would aim to build rotor technologies through research and development activity and to train the scientifically competent personnel Turkey’s defense industry would need in the future, in view of a program to design, develop and manufacture the country’s first indigenous helicopter.
The center is planning to organize a workshop on March 14.
Last summer, Turkish procurement authorities formalized their plans to build a Turkish helicopter when they tasked TAI with the job.
The program was launched in June 2010, and TAI submitted its bid to be the local prime contractor in October 2012. TAI’s five-ton, twin-engine “light” helicopter will meet the Turkish military requirements in the medium- and long-run, but will also have a civilian model for the commercial market.
The Turkish helicopter aims to replace Turkey’s aging UH-1s, but it could also be used to meet Army helicopter training needs.
Turkey in 2011 selected Sikorsky as its partner company to lead production of the country’s next-generation utility helicopters. Sikorsky’s T-70, the Turkish version of the company’s S-70 Black Hawk International, defeated Italian-British AgustaWestland for the contract. The S-70 Black Hawk International is used by the militaries of dozens of countries, including Turkey. AgustaWestland was competing with its TUHP 149, the Turkish version of its newly developed AW149.
The first batch will be for 109 utility helicopters, but with follow-on orders, more than 600 machines could be built.

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