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Heli-Expo 2015: Schweizer range may be put up for sale

5th March 2015 - 00:04 GMT | by Tony Skinner in Orlando

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The family of helicopters formerly known as Schweizer may soon be placed back on the market, as Sikorsky considers whether to divest itself of its light helicopter range.

Sikorsky’s intentions with the former Schweizer products, which it acquired in 2004, have been unclear since the company closed the original manufacturing plant in Elmira, New York in 2010.

Production has since restarted at its production facility at Coatesville, Pennsylvania and the company has commitments to deliver 12 S-300s as well as 11 S-333s for the Saudi Land Forces.

Dan Hunter, director of commercial programmes at Sikorsky Aircraft, told reporters at Heli-Expo that the company was still looking at its options but one avenue was to look to partner with someone who would take over production duties.

‘Right now we are establishing the supply chain, we are filling our current commitments, and we are getting that right so that we can make a proper decision about what is next for that product line. And we are continuing to focus on the installed base,’ Hunter explained.

‘We have not made a decision on those two products. We think there is probably a place somewhere where they might both be a viable product line, or one or the other. But right now we are focused on getting it right after we transitioned it out of our Schweizer facility.’

Hunter said the establishment of the new production line had helped clarify Sikorsky’s thinking about the viability of the S-300 and S-333, and it was in a better position to consider the future of the family.

‘We are trying to get the economics squared away, we are trying to get the supply chain squared away. We had a lot of clean up to do to make that product line be what we wanted it to be. Either we will retain the line within the Sikorsky family or make it a really good, solid offer to someone who might want to be in that business.’

Hunter also confirmed that the S-434 has now been discontinued and the company was ‘essentially out of the 434 business’.

The S-434 was sold to the Saudi Arabia Ministry of the Interior and was a platform option for the MQ-8C Fire Scout, although the US Navy opted for the Bell 407 instead.

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