Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, is positioning its depot-level Black Hawk maintenance and pilot training facilities in Colombia for use by other Black Hawk helicopter users in Latin America.
Established originally to support the Colombia Armed Forces and National Police, the support facilities will allow the region’s other Black Hawk operators – Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico – to take advantage of the same services close to their home bases of operation.
“Our facilities in Colombia have the manpower, the expertise, the space and capacity to provide flight simulator training for the region’s Black Hawk pilots, and to conduct phased inspections and major overhauls for their aircraft,” said Adam Schierholz, Sikorsky regional executive for Latin America. “As a regional hub for Black Hawk helicopters in Latin America, Sikorsky can help our customers achieve high mission readiness rates — all at very affordable rates.”
Recent work conducted in two Latin America countries has enabled an army aviation unit to dramatically improve flight readiness, and another operator to replace a main rotor transmission and complete a 500-hour inspection.
Since 2012, Sikorsky Colombia has grown from an administrative office in Bogota to a full product support center serving the region’s largest Black Hawk fleet operator. Collectively, the Colombian Army, Colombian Air Force and Colombia National Police have acquired 103 Black Hawk aircraft since 1988. Forty-six Colombian nationals employed by Sikorsky provide support for:
+ A Black Hawk Helicopter Flight Simulator Center at the Colombian Air Force base in Melgar. The center contains the region’s only full motion, five-axis Black Hawk simulator with high fidelity views outside the cockpit.
+ A 2,972 sq. m (32,000 sq. ft.) Black Hawk helicopter depot-level repair facility at the Tolemaida Colombia Army base. Operated by 30 experienced engineers and mechanics, the facility is fully tooled and equipped to provide airframe structural repairs.
Growth of the region’s Hawk fleet has nearly doubled in the past 10 years from 120 to 180 aircraft, with the additional aircraft coming from Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. Fleet growth continues later this year when the Chilean Air Force will take delivery of six S-70i Black Hawk aircraft.