300 Black Hawk Cabins Manufactured in Mielec. Zakręcki: Our Tender Bid Is Stronger.
Our Tender Bid Is Stronger. 300 Black Hawk helicopter cabins have been manufactured at the PZL Mielec facility so far.
3 thousand helicopters of this type are being operated all around the world – One out of ten Black Hawk helicopters is, in some way, Polish – as it was stressed by Janusz Zakręcki, President of the Mielec facility, during the related press conference.Important declarations related to the helicopter tender were also made - “Our offer was rejected for some reasons. Today, all of those points that were criticized, e.g. armament, training or offer in dollars, are non-existent.Armament, training programme, and all of the missing elements, are now a part of our offer” - as Zakręcki stated.
300th cabin assembled in Mielec will soon be delivered to the United States of America, where it will become a component of the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. This is going to happen because only some of the cabins are being used to manufacture the PZL Mielec S-70i helicopters. The remaining components are being received by the Sikorsky Aircraft facilities in the United States. There, they are used to manufacture the UH-60M helicopters for the US Army.
The cabin is not, contrary to some opinions, a simple element. It consists out of 3,000 separate parts, altogether acting as the primary load-bearing structure, connecting the cockpit and the tail boom. The main portion of fuselage, weighing more than a tonne, is also fitted with the fuel tanks and main gearbox. 40 working days is a period required to manufacture a single cabin.
President Zakręcki stressed that, starting from the moment when the facility began to assemble the cabins, one of the two Black Hawks is using the Polish component.
“300 cabins manufactured in Mielec – that’s 10% of the global Black Hawk fleet.We are proud of that fact.One out of ten Black Hawk helicopters is, in some way, Polish” – as it was stressed by Janusz Zakręcki, President of the Mielec facility, during the related press conference.
Zakręcki also did not refrain form making references to the Polish Army helicopter tender, in which the French Caracal platform was selected. At the moment, the Polish Ministry of Defence also considers procurement of other helicopters. Janusz Zakręcki noted that at the moment, in the light of the fact that Sikorsky became a part of the Lockheed Martin company, a much better offer may be submitted.
Our offer was rejected for some reasons. Today, all of those points that were criticized, e.g. armament, training or offer in dollars, are non-existent. Armament, training programme, and all of the missing elements, are now a part of our offer. (...) We are ready to face new challenges and, above all, to manufacture helicopters for the Polish Army. We are offering a Polish Black Hawk, we will be able to deliver the helicopter even seven months after the contract is signed. What is more, the armament configuration to be delivered would be offered by the Lockheed Martin company. (...) We only need a decision to be taken, to start delivering the helicopters for the Polish Army.
Janusz Zakręcki, PZL Mielec President
Besides the issues tied to the Black Hawk helicopter, matters related to the future of the Mielec facility were also covered. Vice-President of the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Mike Gordon, stated that PZL-Mielec is an important element of the company. At the same time, the Polish facility is the largest Sikorsky’s factory outside the territory of the United States of America.
Throughout the last couple of months we have gone through a great change, when Sikorsky company became a part of the Lockheed Martin Corporation. (...) PZL-Mielec is the largest Sikorsky facility outside the United States of America, and here I would like to assure you that more opportunities will be provided to that plant, in the light of the fact that it became a member of the Lockheed Martin family. (...) I hope that the facility will have more tasks to be finalized in front of it, both those assigned by Lockheed Martin, as well as those ordered by the Polish government.
Mike Gordon, Vice-President Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
Mike Gordon stated that other competences are going to be provided to the Mielec facilities, related to the Lockheed Martin products. However, it is also possible to make better use of the portfolio which already exists. With assistance provided by Lockheed Martin, possibilities within the scope of sales related to the M28 Skytruck aircraft are going to be expanded. Talks with numerous armed forces are, supposedly, being carried out within that area. Unfortunately, no further details were revealed.
Source: By Juliusz Sabak - DEFENCE24 (www.defence24.com) - 16 March 2016
Photo: Mielec-manufactured Black Hawk helicopter. (Photo by J.Sabak)