KIELCE, Poland, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- European helicopter manufacturing and service companies have recently signed agreements to strengthen and expand their business portfolios.
In Poland, Britain's Sikorsky Aerospace Services and PZL Mielec, the Polish manufacturer of Sikorsky Aircraft's S-70i Black Hawk helicopter, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Wojskowe Centralne Biuro Konstrukcyjno -- Technologiczne on the possible supply of ground support equipment to sustain an S-70i fleet Poland.
A separate MOU was also signed by the companies with ETC-PZL Aerospace Industries Ltd., the Polish subsidiary of Environmental Tectonics Corporation, to explore how ETC-PZL could provide aircrew and maintenance training for the helicopters if the Polish military acquires S-70i aircraft.
Sikorsky's S-70i is the international version of the UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter used extensively by the U.S. military. Poland's Ministry of Defense this expected to release this year a tender for new helicopters and Sikorsky will offer the S-70i, which is flown by the military forces of 25 countries.
Under the first MOU, WCBKT will work with Sikorsky to potentially become an approved supplier of ground support equipment for S-70i Black Hawks operating in Europe.
"WCBKT's experience in the production of aircraft ground support equipment for military use and their research-and-development capabilities offers the level of quality products and services we look for in partnering with an international company," said Frank DiPasquale, vice president of Sales and Strategic Relationships for Sikorsky Air Services.
"Our aftermarket expertise, coupled with the synergy of local support companies, will provide comprehensive in-country capabilities should Poland's Ministry of Defense select the S-70i helicopter for their military needs. This MOU aligns with our goal to provide comprehensive support solutions where our customers operate."
"This agreement is an important stage in our strategy of the Black Hawk helicopter's Polonization," Mielec President Janusz Zakrecki added. "It demonstrates our openness for collaboration with other local companies."
PZL Mielec is the largest aircraft manufacturer in Poland. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. acquired the comp and has invested $125 million to modernize PLZ's facility.
SAS and PZL said that under their MOU with ETC-PZL, a manufacturer of digital cockpit flight simulators and training devices, they will explore how ETC-PZL's logistics and maintenance support of simulators and training devices could be part of any S-70i acquisition deal with Poland.
AgustaWestland, meanwhile, announced it signed partnership agreements with two South Korean companies with the aim of eventually providing dedicated service and training centers for the military helicopters in South Korea.
"The MOU's covering integrated logistics support and training services provide opportunities for AgustaWestland to deliver enhanced through life support to operators such as the (South Korean navy)," said Geoff Hoon, AgustaWestland's managing director for International Business.
"The most important part was selecting the right partners and AgustaWestland is delighted to have the opportunity to work with both Firstec (Co. Ltd.) and Dodaam (Systems Co.), who will offer excellent value to the partnerships by providing maintenance and repair services, spare parts inventory management for military helicopters and a series of dedicated training solutions to the military services."
As Sikorsky's MOUs are primarily angled toward Poland acquiring its aircraft, AgustaWestland's MOU's are aimed at servicing its helicopters already in use in South Korea's military, parapublic and commercial sectors and expanding its footprint in the country.
"AgustaWestland sees further significant business opportunities in the Republic of Korea and is working to offer its modern and highly capable product range and services to meet all of the major requirements," it said.