Sikorsky, Qatar's Gulf Helicopters Sign MOU for Aviation Center of Excellence

The proposed Aviation Center of Excellence would provide maintenance support, spares, training and design/development services to Sikorsky, Gulf and other commercial and governmental aircraft owners and operators in the Middle East region.


ABU DHABI , United Arab Emirates, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/--Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and Gulf Helicopters of Doha, Qatar signed a Memorandum of Understanding today to explore establishing an Aviation Center of Excellence in the Middle East region. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060403/SIKORSKYLOGO )

The proposed Aviation Center of Excellence would provide maintenance support, spares, training and design/development services to Sikorsky, Gulf and other commercial and governmental aircraft owners and operators in the Middle East region. This would include the establishment and management by Sikorsky and Gulf through the Aviation Center of Excellence of a fleet management operations center to provide logistical support as well as local inventory of Sikorsky and other aircraft manufacturer's spare parts.

In addition, the Aviation Center of Excellence would establish and operate a customer support center which would enable it to perform organizational, intermediate and various levels of depot level maintenance on rotary and fixed wing aircraft. Both parties will discuss Sikorsky's conveyance, through structured training and educational initiatives and co-participation in design/development projects of aerospace design and support technology and know-how to employees of Gulf and/or the Center of Excellence.

"The Middle East has become a significant region for the S-92(R) and S-76(R) helicopters and Sikorsky is excited about the potential for joint efforts with Gulf Helicopter as we explore this Aviation Center of Excellence," said Sikorsky President Jeffrey Pino. "We look forward to the opportunities this MOU creates for future cooperation."

In addition to the MOU signing, Sikorsky and Gulf Helicopter signed a contract for a second of two S-92 VVIP aircraft. The first S-92 helicopter entered service in the Gulf region in 2006.

Prior to the Qatar contract, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the Republic ofKorea selected the S-92 for head-of-state service.

The S-92 helicopter continues to perform at a high operational tempo with the fleet recently passing 43,000 total flight hours. In addition to executive transport, the multi-mission, medium S-92 helicopter is used in a variety of roles including offshore oil, search and rescue, and airline.

The S-92 is the first helicopter in the world certified to the latest U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European Joint airworthiness safety standards. The S-92 features a Rotor Ice Protection System, which allows the aircraft to operate in known icing conditions. RIPS has been certified by both North American and European aviation authorities and is available on S-92 military variants as well as commercial aircraft.

Sikorsky also has delivered several S-76C++(TM) helicopters into the region. In addition, Sikorsky is developing the S-76D(TM) helicopter, which will include all composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades, Rotor Ice Protection System, an advanced Thales avionics system and autopilot, and many other features. The S-76D is on track for certification in late 2009.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Connecticut, USA, is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building industries.

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