PZL Mielec, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.'s affiliate in Poland celebrated the rollout of the first BLACK HAWK helicopter cabin produced at the facility earlier this year. The event took place on March 12, 2009 – the second anniversary of the acquisition of PZL Mielec.
Employees, managers of PZL Mielec, representatives of Sikorsky Aircraft, and guests representing the local and regional authorities attended the ceremony. Among them were Janusz Chodorowski, Mayor of Mielec City, Andrzej Chrabaszcz, Governor of the Mielec County, and Krystyna Skowronska, a Member of Parliament representing the Mielec region.
“The workforce at PZL Mielec has enthusiastically embraced this challenge, and today we are seeing the culmination of their efforts with the first of the initial group of 200 BLACK HAWK helicopter cabins to be built in Mielec rolling off the production line,” said Janusz Zakrecki, President of PZL Mielec. “This cabin symbolizes the progress we have made, as well as the significant milestone leading us to the production of the S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter.”
Guests at the ceremony viewed the first BLACK HAWK helicopter cabin produced at PZL and toured the newly renovated, semi-assembly plant. “The modernization and improvements introduced into the company's operations in work safety and comfort demonstrate our long-term commitment and contribution to the labor market in Poland and the Aviation Valley,” said Carey Bond, Sikorsky Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “The improvements have transformed PZL Mielec into a world-class facility capable of producing Sikorsky's BLACK HAWK helicopter cabins and subsequently producing S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopters, designed for the international marketplace.”
Delivery of the first S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter from Mielec is expected to occur by the end of 2011. “Sikorsky Aircraft considers PZL Mielec as a key pillar to the success of future BLACK HAWK helicopter assembly,” said Bob Kokorda, Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Synergy. “Beyond PZL Mielec, further production opportunities for the S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter in other Polish plants will ensure access to a high quality supply chain as well as opportunities for localized maintenance and overhaul, completion, and training centers which will enable Sikorsky to achieve competitive pricing and greater access to the global marketplace. Needless to say, Sikorsky’s efforts will return PZL Mielec to a prominent position in international aviation.”
Bond added: “We look forward to the further rollout of BLACK HAWK helicopter cabins to be produced here that will meet the demands of our international customer, as well as our U.S. Army customer. On the international side, it is a tremendous step forward in our effort to make PZL Mielec a global provider of S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopters. The growing efficiency of this process will enable deliveries to start in 2011 and production is expected to ramp up to as many as 36 S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopters per year.”