March 2 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky transferred an S-70i Black Hawk helicopter to be used as a prototype for the Turkish Utility Helicopter Program.
The Black Hawk was received by Turkish arms manufacturer Aselsan, which will equip the rotorcraft with a new avionics suite jointly developed with Sikorsky and Turkish Aerospace Industries.
The new equipment, called the Integrated Modular Avionics System, will eventually be integrated with Turkey's new T70 utility helicopter, and later into Turkish-built Black Hawks. The country's arms makers have plans to build at least 109 new helicopters with the T70 design.
Aselsan formally accepted the transfer during a ceremony held on March 1.
"Delivery of this S-70i prototype fulfills a major milestone for the Turkish Utility Helicopter Program, and signals our continued close collaboration with Aselsan and the other aerospace companies led by TAI," Sikorsky president Dan Schultz said in a press release.
The Turkish Utility Helicopter Program is an effort led by TAI and Sikorsky. Under the program, the companies have agreed to share technological capabilities. Sikorsky and other Turkish aerospace contractors will manufacture 109 T70 helicopters, and in return Turkish companies will assemble 109 T70 helicopters for Sikorsky.
TAI says the agreement has the potential to facilitate the construction of 600 total aircraft, including T70 and S-70i units.