SIKORSKY USED the 2018 Feria Internacional del Aire y del Espacio show, held in Santiago, Chile, in April to launch a twomonth tour of Latin America in order to promote its S-70 Firehawk helicopter.
The tour will be undertaken between May and June, 2018. Sikorsky officials, together with representatives from United Rotorcraft, will visit Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru to discuss the effectiveness of the Firehawk in the aerial fire-fighting role.
United Rotorcraft, based in Colorado, is teamed with Sikorsky to reconfigure the basic Black Hawk airframe with the addition of the Firehawk Aerial Firefighting Mission Package. The package can be retrofitted to existing Black Hawk Helicopters, which are already extensively operated by several militaries throughout Latin America: that is, older UH-60L and S-70A Black Hawks, as well as later UH-60M, S-70M and S-70i variants.
Almost 100 UH-60 Black Hawks have been already been acquired by the Colombian Armed Forces, which received its first examples in 1988. A further 22 aircraft are operated in the region by the armed forces of Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
Adam Schierholz, Sikorsky’s Vice President and Regional Sales Executive for Latin America, said: “Latin America is increasingly susceptible to wildfires that threaten lives and property, and the fire-fighting season also is shown to be lengthening. We are bringing lessons learned from California, where our Firehawk Aerial Firefighting Mission Package added to a Black Hawk helicopter has proved to be highly effective [when] attacking wildland fires with large volumes of water, especially when the effort is coordinated closely with fire-fighters attacking the same fire from the ground.”
The Firehawk has been extensively used in California during the recent fire season and additional aircraft were ordered by the County of Los Angeles Fire Department, together with the first for the City of San Diego in February 2018. Nigel Pittaway