STRATFORD, Conn., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- U.S. helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft is expanding its presence in Latin America with the opening of an office and training center in Colombia.
The new office is in Bogota, Colombia, and will provide support for Black Hawk UH-60 helicopters operated by the Colombian armed forces. A Black Hawk training center will open early next year in Melgar, Colombia -- the first Black Hawk training center in South America.
"Colombia is a longtime strategic customer and valued partner," said Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. President Mick Maurer. "Our continued investments in support services exemplify Sikorsky's solid commitment to enhance the Ministry of Defense and the Colombian armed forces' fleet availability and operational readiness.
"We remain dedicated to providing strong support directly where our customers operate."
Sikorsky said the training center, now under construction, will feature the region's only full-motion, high-fidelity, FAA Level D Equivalent Black Hawk simulator for pilot and flight crew training for the Colombian armed forces and for other military customers in the region.
Colombia has operated a fleet of Black Hawks since the late 1990s. The armed forces were the first to do so; the country's National Federal Police followed suit. The combined fleets number about 100 aircraft.