If Sikorsky is worried about the fate of the S-92 Cyclone, it wasn’t letting on during a conference call with investors and analysts last week.
Shortly into a his presentation, Louis Chenevert, chairman of Sikorsky’s parent company, United Technologies, acknowledged the questions he frequently receives about the Canadian maritime helicopter program. He quickly added, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and then showed a slide of a Cyclone in flight training.
The Royal Canadian Air Force is conducting initial training with four interim helicopters at 12 Wing Shearwater but has yet to officially accept any of the Cyclones. Chenevert said it had six more waiting in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and had the entire “28 helicopters in the build process.” Both pilots and maintainers are now training on the aircraft, he added.
As for concerns that the government was lining up a possible alternative if it is unable to accept the Cyclone, Chenevert told investors “we’re continuing to have productive discussions with the Canadian government. We maintain our placeholder for this year for eight aircraft in (2013). We’ll also have eight in 2014 and eight in ’15…[T]he eight and eight and eight…still holds true at this point in time. So we have made good progress.”
In the fall, government officials met with representatives from AgustaWestland, NH Industries and Sikorsky and asked each company to respond to an abbreviated set of requirements. An announcement on the program was anticipated in December.