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Sikorsky has received a prototype of the S-70i Black Hawk aircraft from its Polish subsidiary PZL Mielec.

PZL Mielec added a rescue hoist, internal auxiliary fuel tank, cargo hook, integrated vehicle health management system, a blade de-icing system, and a rotor brake to Sikorsky’s S-70i aircraft.

The aircraft will be used as the test platform to integrate a new avionics suite that is being co-developed by Sikorsky and Turkish defence electronics company Aselsan for the Turkish Utility Helicopter Programme (TUHP).

The Turkish Government will build a fleet of multi-role T70 utility helicopters, as part of TUHP.

Sikorsky TUHP Programme director Jason Lambert said: "On-time delivery and the exceptional quality of this S-70i helicopter is a great start to the Turkish Utility Helicopter Programme.

"The success of this important milestone was achieved through the dedication of the PZL Mielec workforce and Sikorsky engineering team, which also incorporated Black Hawk mission equipment options into the prototype helicopter for international delivery from Poland."

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By GlobalData

In early 2017, Sikorsky will fly the prototype aircraft to Ankara where it will be used to test the avionics suite, which is designed to meet the T70 user community requirements.

"On-time delivery and the exceptional quality of this S-70i helicopter is a great start to the Turkish Utility Helicopter Programme."

Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), along with Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), Sikorsky Aircraft and other domestic aerospace contractors, will manufacture helicopters for the Turkish Armed Forces.

The T70 helicopters, which are Turkish variants of Sikorsky’s S-70i International Black Hawk helicopter, are being manufactured under previously signed agreements worth $3.5bn.

TAI will initially build 109 T70 helicopters that will be delivered to the Turkish Land Forces, Turkish Air Force, General Command of Gendarme, Special Forces, Turkish National Police, and the General Directorate of Forestry.

The agreements will also have an option to produce an additional 191 helicopters.

Image: The prototype S-70i Black Hawk. Photo: courtesy of PRNewsFoto / Lockheed Martin.