Sikorsky’s demurral in Poland’s $3 billion utility helicopter competition comes as a bit of a shock. Sikorsky has deep roots in Poland, and their PZL Mielec subsidiary has served as the S-70i Black Hawk helicopter’s global center for several years now, selling an international export variant of the UH-60 to customers from Colombia to Saudi Arabia and beyond. As the only competitor with proven helicopters in all roles and a deep industrial relationship, it was hard not to see them as the favorite.
The whole episode serves as a fine reminder that key information like full RFP specifics and relationship dynamics is often privately-held. Sikorsky’s pullout leaves Poland with an arguably riskier set of acquisition choices, and a significant industrial question.