Sikorsky plans to build its operation in Colombia into a hub for supporting Black Hawk operators throughout Latin America.
The manufacturer in 2012 established facilities in Colombia to support operations there. Colombia is the largest Black Hawk operator in the region, Sikorsky said. That nation’s army, air force and national police together have more than 100 Black Hawks and that country has operated the type since 1988.
Sikorsky Colombia operates a 32,000 sq ft Black Hawk depot repair facility at the Tolemaida army base near Melgar, about 50 nm southwest of Bogota. With more than 30 engineers and mechanics, the company said, that facility is tooled and equipped to provide complete Black Hawk airframe structural repairs.
That base also has a Black Hawk Helicopter Flight Simulator Center, which opened for pilot and flight crew training in early 2013. The center has the region's only full-motion, five-axis, high-fidelity display Black Hawk simulator, according to Sikorsky. The center is managed by Corporación de la Industria Aeronáutica de Colombia, an aerospace support provider for the Colombian defense ministry.
Sikorsky said it is pursuing approvals to allow support teams from Colombia to travel for field repairs to Mexico, which has Latin America’s second-largest Black Hawk fleet. The manufacturer said Mexico is expected to double its Black Hawk fleet in the next five years. Today, 23 Black Hawks fly with Mexico’s federal police, air force and navy and the state of Jalisco.
Sikorsky said it is in the process of obtaining approvals to offer the same services to Black Hawk operators in Chile, Argentina, and Brazil.
"Securing the appropriate approvals to be able to offer support and training for our customers in Mexico is a step toward fulfilling our long-term plan to position Sikorsky Colombia as the support hub for all Latin American countries that operate Black Hawk aircraft," said Adam Schierholz, Sikorsky’s regional executive for Latin America.