Air Transportation: Turkey Is All In With S-70

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March 10, 2014:  Turkey recently revealed that it had signed a $3.5 billion deal to purchase and produce locally American S-70 helicopters. This is the export version of the U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk transport helicopter. The Turkey deal involves initially assembling S-70s from largely U.S. components but then with more and more Turkish parts. The initial deal is for 109 S-70s but if the transfer of technology enables the Turks to take over most of the construction this deal could result in 600 S-70s entering Turkish service over the next three decades.

Turkey has been using the S-70 for fifteen years, having received the first 10 of 50 U.S.-built S-70s in 1999. All UH-60s are militarized versions (UH-60, HH-60, MH-60) of the Sikorsky S-70, a 1970s design that won the competition to replace the older UH-1 "Huey". The army currently has about 2,000 UH-60s and is upgrading the force with the new "M" model. So far, about 2,800 UH-60s have been built.

The UH-60 was introduced in 1979. In 2006 the U.S. Army introduced the "M" model which featured several improvements. These included new rotor blades (more reliable, and provide 227 kg/500 pounds of additional lift), an all-electronic cockpit (putting all needed information on four full-color displays), an improved autopilot, improved flight controls (making flying easier, especially in stressful situations), a stronger fuselage, more efficient navigation system, better infrared suppression (making it harder for heat seeking missiles to hit), and more powerful engines. Before the M model, the last major upgrade had been in the late 1980s with the UH-60L. The M version, which cost about $50 million each fully equipped, will make the UH-60 viable into the 2020s. Turkey will use many UH-60M features in its S-60s.

The 11 ton UH-60M can carry 14 troops, or 1.1 tons of cargo internally, or four tons slung underneath. Cruise speed is 278 kilometers an hour. Max endurance is two hours, although most sorties last 90 minutes or less. Max altitude is 5,790 meters (19,000 feet).

 

 


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