Sikorsky boosts European presence as it seeks International Black Hawk orders

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Sikorsky is increasing its European presence as it moves closer to winning its first customers for the International Black Hawk programme.

The company intends to market its newly acquired PZL Mielec facility in Poland under the brand of Sikorsky Europe, a European entity it has established.

"We're working out how to rebrand PZL Mielec - it is soon to be under the Sikorsky Europe banner," says Bruce McKinney, Sikorsky regional sales manager, Europe.

Sikorsky began modernising the newly acquired site in Poland in April this year.

The company expects to begin taking initial orders for the International Black Hawk later this year, McKinney adds. It plans to ship the complete International Black Hawk helicopters from Europe, with a completion centre in Dublin, a support, training and completion centre due to be announced within two months and warehousing facilities completing the picture.

McKinney does not rule out the possibility of having the Polish government as the launch customer for the International Black Hawk, but adds that the Middle East, Russia and South America are also potential markets. He expects Sikorsky Europe to produce around 400 of the rotorcraft over the next 10 years. The European facilities will be capable of delivering 20-24 aircraft a year, he adds.