Paul Derby

Sikorsky has a new partner in its bid to meet Canada's Maritime Helicopter Project (MHP) requirement - Lockheed Martin Canada. The companies will offer Sikorsky's S-92 Helibus to the Canadian Forces.

Revealing the tie-up at the show yesterday, Sikorsky chairman and CEO Gene Buckley said Lockheed Martin Canada would be responsible for the overall mission system integration for the S-92.

The move extends the working relationship between the two companies, with Lockheed Martin already involved on the SH-60R Seahawk upgrade that will enter service with the US Navy in 2002.

The teaming follows hard on the heels of another joint venture announcement, after Boeing's decision to link up with the EH Industries-led team pushing the Cormorant version of the EH101 for the MHP. Boeing will supply the maritime patrol mission system.

Canada has a need for 35 aircraft to replace its fleet of Sikorsky Sea Kings and the government is close to launching the C$2 billion ($1.4 billion) competition.

Canadian ministers are studying a menu of options drawn up by the Canadian Forces as the contest nears the starting line. These include the directed procurement of the entire programme from a single prime contractor and directed procurement of the aircraft and a mission system competition.

Buckley says Sikorsky has found the ideal partner for its bid: "An established Canadian company for the past 60 years, Lockheed Martin Canada is a recognised leader in systems integration and software development for large-scale programmes.

"This tremendous talent, coupled with their extensive Canadian presence and experience with the Canadian Forces, will be strong assets for our team."

Source: Flight Daily News