Colombian Army takes delivery of five S-70i helicopters
March 25, 2013 By Carey Fredericks
March 25, 2013, Stratford, Conn. - The Colombian Army has formally inducted five new Sikorsky S-70i multi-mission helicopters into its fleet of BLACK HAWK aircraft. Colombia is the first South American country to buy the S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter variant from Sikorsky Aircraft.
“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.
The aircraft were
accepted during a Feb. 11 ceremony in Tolemaida attended by Colombian
President Juan Manuel Santos and Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon.
at Sikorsky’s aircraft manufacturing facility in Mielec, Poland, the
five aircraft were custom-equipped in the United States for the Special
Forces of the Colombian Army’s Air Assault Division.
A team of
Colombian pilots and maintainers flew the five aircraft from Connecticut
4,334 miles (6,975 km) via Central America to the Army Special
Operation Aviation Military base in Tolemaida, arriving Jan. 30
following 10 days of flight.
Before departing Connecticut, the
Colombian team received extensive training from Sikorsky to become
familiar with the S-70i aircraft’s digital cockpit and advanced
avionics. The system includes a dual GPS/INS system with digital map
that provides accurate navigation and enhanced situational awareness.
The team also graduated instructor pilots and maintainers to train
others in their unit.
The five S-70i aircraft join a fleet of 96
UH-60L helicopters operated by the Colombian National Police, Colombian
Air Force, and Colombian Army —accounting for the world’s fourth-largest
BLACK HAWK fleet. Military forces in almost 30 countries operate more
than 3,000 BLACK HAWK aircraft for a variety of missions, including
troop transport and air assault, cargo lift, search and rescue, and VIP
Sold directly by Sikorsky to international militaries
and government agencies, the S-70i helicopter delivers the same power
and lift performance as S-70M BLACK HAWK aircraft. The S-70i model can
be customized easily by Sikorsky to specific mission needs, to include
radar, ballistic protection, medical litters, extended range fuel tanks,
an external rescue hoist, and cargo hook among other features.