Sikorsky Aircraft has signed a contract with a potential value of US$11.6bn to supply the US army and navy with new helicopters.

The five-year multi-service Multi-Year VII contract will see Sikorsky replace the army’s UH-60 Black Hawk Fleet with UH-60M Black Hawks and HH-60M MEDVAC helicopters.

The navy’s SH-60B/F Seahawks, HH-60R Seahawk Kings, CH-46D Sea Knights and HH-1N Huey SAR helicopters will be replaced by MH-60S and MH-60R Seahawks.

Although the contract allows for the delivery of 537 helicopters form 2007 to 2012, actual numbers will be determined year-by-year during the programme, dependent on Congress and Pentagon funding allocations.

If options for an additional 263 aircraft, spares and kits are exercised, the value of the contract could rise from US$7.4bn to US$11.6bn.

Sikorsky will also provide technical publications and updates, and technical guidance and on-site training to army and navy maintenance personnel.

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