In 2011, the Turkish Utility Helicopter Program picked Sikorsky to continue providing its S-70 Black Hawk/ Seahawk helicopters over the next 10 years. The deal is for up to 121 S-70i derivatives, and could be worth around $3.5 billion in total once the contracts are finalized. These helicopters would equip every branch of Turkey’s armed forces, and some civilian organizations besides.
The TUHP competition began much more modestly in 2005, as a $700 million deal for around 52 helicopters. As helicopter demands on its forces rose, the program expanded its numbers, and broadened its client base within Turkey. The expected competitors also changed rather quickly, moving from Sikorsky’s H-60 family and NHI’s NH90 to a straight shootout between Sikorsky’s new S-70i project, and AgustaWestland’s new AW149.
Turkey’s attack helicopter program wasn’t exactly a model procurement approach, and it should be no surprise that its selection of a new utility helicopter would also come years after the initially-promised date. The question now is when a contract will come.