SIkorsky is offering the S-92 as an option in its bid to supply Canada with 15 search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopters. Sikorsky's main bid is based on a version of the UH-60 Black Hawk called the Maplehawk, but it has also offered to lease the helicopters to Canada until the S-92 is available, or to buy back the Maplehawks when it can deliver the larger craft.

The Maplehawk is the smallest of four helicopters in contention for the C$600 million ($431 million) CanadianSAR Helicopter (CSH) contract. The others are the Agusta/GKN Westland Cormorant (EH101), Boeing Chinook and Eurocopter Cougar Mk2. To meet the CSH requirement for the accommodation of SAR equipment, Sikorsky proposes modifying the Black Hawk to increase cabin volume by moving the fuel system into the aft fuselage and adding bulged cabin doors.

Maplehawk development would take about a year, with deliveries beginning in 2000. The larger-cabined S-92 would be available two years later, Sikorsky says. First flight of the S-92, developed as a private venture with five international partners, is planned for 1998.

Sikorsky says that the S-92 option would cost about the same as the Maplehawk bid, offering Canada the same industrial and regional benefits (IRB) - 150% of the contract price. The offer includes a C$340 million venture-capital fund set up for Canadian industry.

In its CSH bid, Sikorsky made an unsolicited offer of SH-60 Seahawks to meet the Canadian Forces' follow-on requirement for up to 35 shipborne aircraft under the C$2 billion Maritime Helicopter Programme. Again, the S-92 has also been offered. Sikorsky has proposed delivering "green"Seahawks or S-92s to Canada for installation of mission systems.

Source: Flight International