MILITARY | UTILITY
Canada is passing on an unsolicited offer from Sikorsky Aircraft of six UH-60L Black Hawks as an interim solution to its vertical-lift shortfall.
Sikorsky offered the National Defence Dept. the aircraft in response to Canada’s need for helicopter support for operations in and around Kandahar, Afghanistan.
"Word came back to us that they needed something real quickly," said Sikorsky Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Steve Estill. "We had some L models that we had available at that time." Sikorsky offered the -60Ls after hearing that Canada might solicit Black Hawks from the U.S. government. "Of course, the U.S. doesn’t have any to spare right now," Estill said. After the offer, the company learned that the Canadian requirement was "more systematic than we had been led to believe."
Canadian officials have been discussing a stop-gap vertical-lift solution while awaiting delivery of Boeing CH-53 Chinooks in 2011. At press time, Canada had yet to finalize a contract for the Chinooks.
Concerns about a short-term Black Hawk acquisition included introducing a small number of a different type into the Canadian Forces’ fleet and the added training requirements to support them, as well as the -60L’s payload capabilities vs. the Chinook’s. — Evan Sweetman