DUBAI, United Arab Emirates , Nov. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Interior (MOI) and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. have signed contracts for 16 S-92(R) multi-mission helicopters, 15 S-76(R) multi-mission helicopters and nine Schweizer 434 training helicopters. The procurement represents a major expansion and modernization of the MOI helicopter fleet. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
The program has been on a fast-track procurement with deliveries beginning as early as March 2008 . To accommodate that, it includes a provision for operations, maintenance, logistics and training, which will allow for the expeditious entry of the aircraft into service. This will help bring the unit into full service rapidly and, in turn, enhance its ability to respond to critical missions in the Kingdom, including search and rescue (SAR), fire fighting, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and emergency medical service (EMS) patient transfer missions, in addition to security and traffic surveillance missions. These aircraft can be quickly configured for each mission.
"The Middle East has become a significant region for S-92 helicopters and Sikorsky is excited about the potential for this program becoming the model for other aviation programs in the Kingdom," said Sikorsky President Jeffrey Pino .
As part of their modernization program and increasing civil mission requirements, the MOI envisions an increase in the demand for helicopter support throughout the Kingdom and thus an increase in the number of aircraft and operational bases.
To that end, the Saudi MOI began discussions with various helicopter manufacturers and issued requests for proposals to six major helicopter manufacturers to compete for the Saudi MOI Helicopter Program requirements in the first quarter of 2006. The MOI accepted proposals in June 2006 , which prompted technical discussions and negotiations with the different companies. On December 4, 2006 , the MOI issued Sikorsky a letter of intent to purchase the Sikorsky solution. "The Saudi MOI was very precise in its approach to inviting proposals and following their procurement process to the letter," Pino said. "We applaud their efforts and appreciate their confidence in Sikorsky products."
In addition to this contract, Sikorsky has signed contracts for S-92 VVIP/Head-of-State aircraft for other customers in the region including Qatar , Kuwait , Turkey and Turkmenistan .
The Sikorsky S-92 helicopter is produced in various configurations and is capable of performing a variety of missions including offshore oil transport, head of state, VIP, search and rescue, and commercial airline service. The S- 92 helicopter continues to perform at a high operational tempo with the fleet recently passing 54,000 total flight hours. The S-92 helicopter was the first in the world certified to the latest U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) safety standards. The S-92 helicopter features a Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS), which is available on S-92 helicopter military variants as well as commercial aircraft.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing, and service. The company's long commitment to safety and innovation is reflected in its mission statement: "We pioneer flight solutions that bring people home everywhere ... every time(TM)." United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford , Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.