LAS VEGAS, March 6 (UPI) -- A Chinese government agency has given Sikorsky Aircraft an order for four S-76D search-and-rescue helicopters for maritime use.
The order from the Ministry of Transport's Rescue and Salvage Bureau also provides for procurement of four additional aircraft next year.
"The continuous selection by MOT of Sikorsky's S-76 SAR helicopters among various bidding models clearly illustrates the Chinese government's firm trust and confidence in Sikorsky helicopters," said Robert Kokorda, Sikorsky's vice president of Sales and Marketing.
"The fact that MOT chose to be one of the launch customers of the S-76D helicopter demonstrates its satisfaction with Sikorsky's products and service. We are committed to our customers and will continue to support China's maritime search and rescue capabilities by delivering the best new performer for the mission, the S-76D."
Sikorsky announced the sale from the Heli-Expo industry show in Las Vegas.
The new S-76D is a twin-engine utility helicopter with a speed of 178 miles per hour, a range of 411 nautical miles and a service ceiling of 13,800 feet. It was granted Type Certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration last year. The aircraft features all-composite main rotor blades; an advanced integrated avionics system and autopilot from Thales and active vibration control.
Sikorsky said China's MOT first began using earlier S-76 models in 2000 for search-and-rescue missions. Delivery of the first D models will give China a fleet of 12 S-76 aircraft.