Late last week, Sikorsky Aircraft announced the Colombian Army formally inducted five new Sikorsky S-70i multi-mission helicopters into its fleet. Colombia is the first South American country to buy the S-70i Black Hawk helicopter variant from Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.
“We are honored by the trust the Colombian Armed Forces continue to place in Sikorsky, and in the Black Hawk aircraft as the country’s utility helicopter of choice,” said Jennifer Caruso, Sikorsky Vice President of Army and Air Force Programs.
The aircraft were accepted during a Feb. 11 ceremony in Tolemaida attended by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon.
Built at Sikorsky’s aircraft manufacturing facility in Mielec, Poland, the five aircraft were custom-equipped in the United States for the Special Forces of the Colombian Army’s Air Assault Division.
Sikorsky’s S-70i line is being produced in Poland to tap the the European market, which analysts say is more friendly to firms that have a presence in one of the old countries.
But Connecticut still played its part as the Colombian pilots trained in Stratford before taking control of the aircraft.
A team of Colombian pilots and maintainers flew the five aircraft from Connecticut 4,334 miles via Central America to the Army Special Operation Aviation Military base in Tolemaida, arriving Jan. 30 following 10 days of flight.