S-61s to be Refurbished for Operations Afghanistan

The U.S. State Department has awarded Sikorsky Aircraft an indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity (IDIQ) agreement to purchase up to 110 modernized S-61T aircraft to be used for passenger and cargo transport, supporting the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. The new helicopters will provide an alternative to the Pentagon's current purchase and use of Russian Mil-8 and Mil-17 helicopters.

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S-61T is a modernized S-61/H-3 aircraft modified to increase performance in high/hot operating conditions. The Modernization Program incorporates key upgrades that include composite main rotor blades, a state-of-the-art glass cockpit and modular wiring harness all of which dramatically improve aircraft supportability. The S-61T helicopter also has been equipped with 1,200 pounds of added lift capability and enhanced speed capacity. Additional features have been incorporated to reduce pilot fatigue and reduced maintenance requirements for increased safety.

The helicopters will be modified by Pennsylvania-based Carson Helicopters Inc. under an exclusive joint upgrade program with Sikorsky Aerospace Services (SAS), the aftermarket division of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.

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