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Colombian Army Adds Sikorsky Copters

Zacks Equity Research

In order to strengthen the combat power of the Special Forces of the Air Assault Division of the armed forces, the Colombian Army recently added five new Sikorsky S-70i multi-mission helicopters into its fleet.

With the addition of these helicopters, Colombia became the first South American country to possess the S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopter variant in its arsenal that is being indigenously manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of diversified business conglomerate United Technologies Corp. (UTX).

Colombia has an existing fleet of 96 UH-60L helicopters developed by Sikorsky. These powerful helicopters with automatic fight control system are operated by its National Police, Air Force and Army, accounting for the fourth-largest BLACK HAWK fleet in the world. The addition of the improved version of the S-70i BLACK HAWK helicopters will further augment its defensive capabilities and fortify its armory.

The S-70i model has a digital cockpit and advanced stellar avionics with a dual GPS/INS system for accurate navigation and well-informed situational awareness. The helicopters can also be customized to include other features such as radar, ballistic protection, medical litters, extended fuel tanks, an external rescue hoist, and cargo hook.

In order to get accustomed with its advanced operations, Sikorsky provided extensive training to the Colombian Army and graduated instructor pilots and maintainers to train others in the unit.  

Sikorsky is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of military and commercial helicopters, and also provides aftermarket helicopter and aircraft parts and services for its parent company UTX. At present, major production programs at Sikorsky include the UH-60M Black Hawk medium-transport helicopters and HH-60M Medevac helicopters for the U.S. and foreign governments, the S-70 Black Hawk for foreign governments, the MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters for the U.S. Navy, the International Naval Hawk for multiple naval missions, and the S-76 and S-92 helicopters for commercial operations.

Based in Hartford, CT, United Technologies provides high-end technology products and services to the building systems and aerospace industries worldwide. The company is a diversified business conglomerate serving various end markets such as aerospace, defense and commercial construction. The business diversification allows the company to remain profitable amid tough economic times.

The operations of the company are primarily classified into two principal businesses: commercial and aerospace. Under its commercial business, the company has Otis and the UTC Climate, Controls & Security division, which combined the former Carrier and UTC Fire & Security divisions. The aerospace business of the company consists of Sikorsky aircraft and the UTC Propulsion & Aerospace Systems, which includes UTC Aerospace Systems and Pratt & Whitney divisions.

United Technologies faces intense competition from industry bigwigs such as China Merchants Holdings (CMHHF), Crane Co. (CR) and Macquarie (MIC), each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). United Technologies presently also has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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