PICTURE: Polish-built Black Hawk makes MSPO show debut

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PZL Mielec used the 6-9 September International Defence Industry Exhibition (MSPO) to present the second S-70i International Black Hawk utility helicopter to have been manufactured at Sikorsky's facility in Poland.

Following aircraft 0001, which made its flight debut from West Palm Beach in Florida on 1 July, the aircraft displayed in Kielce is scheduled to make its debut sortie from Mielec in November.

The first S-70i has now amassed roughly 38h, and Sikorsky expects to complete remaining flight tests in the fourth quarter of this year.

Two more aircraft are in the final assembly stage in Poland. Eight more will be delivered in 2011, before production ramps up to 12 in 2011 and a full-rate production level of 20 a year, to be achieved during 2012.

pzl mielec manufactured s-70 black hawk helicopter, bartosz glowacki
 © Bartosz Glowacki

As confirmed at July's Farnborough air show, Sikorsky's first customer for the Polish-built S-70i is Saudi Arabia's ministry of internal affairs, which has signed a contract for three, plus an option for 12 more.

"We are now in talks with some [more] potential customers," says PZL Mielec president Janusz Zakrecki.

The S-70i is expected to be offered for use by the Polish land forces as a replacement for their Mil Mi-8/17 transports. However, Warsaw has yet to launch an official tender for such a requirement.