SIKORSKY WILL DECIDE within the next six months whether to increase production of its twin-turbine S-76 helicopter, which is scheduled to be about 24 aircraft this year.

Mike Moran, Sikorsky's director for commercial programmes, says that Sikorsky has firm orders in 1996 for 11 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6B-powered S-76Bs, one S-76C and nine up-rated Turbomeca Arriel 2-powered S-76C+ helicopters. It expects to deliver between 22 and 24 S-76s in 1996, a 50% increase over 1995. This compares to only ten deliveries in 1993 when the market for S-76s bottomed out.

Moran says that he has been unable to take several orders from oil-industry customers because 1996 production is sold out. Sikorsky expects to sell 20-24 S-76s in 1997 - 60% of them S-76C+s and the rest S-76Bs. The last S-76C will be delivered this year.

US certification of the S-76C+ is expected in late March or early April with delivery of the first unit scheduled for May to an undisclosed domestic VIP customer.

Source: Flight International