STRATFORD, Conn., March 22 (UPI) -- Five international variants of Sikorsky's Black Hawk helicopters have officially been put into operation by the Colombian army.
The S-70i helicopters are manufactured in Poland by Sikorsky subsidiary "PZL-Mielec and customized in the United States for use by Colombian Special Forces.
"We are honored by the trust the Colombian armed forces continue to place in Sikorsky and in the Black Hawk aircraft as the country's utility helicopter of choice," said Jennifer Caruso, Sikorsky vice president of Army and Air Force Programs.
Colombian personnel were trained in the United States to handle the aircraft's digital cockpit and advanced avionics, including a dual GPS/INS system with digital map. The team will train other Colombian pilots and maintainers on the S-70i.
Colombia's national police, air force and army already had a combined fleet of 96 UH-60 Black Hawks -- the fourth-largest Black Hawk fleet in the world.
Sikorsky said Colombia is the first country in South America to operate the S-70i medium-lift utility aircraft.