August 28, 2005, 1:52 PM EDT
STRATFORD, Conn. -- The U.S. State Department has approved a Sikorsky
Aircraft helicopter for overseas sales without special export clearances
required for military aircraft.
Sikorsky developed the S-92A as a commercial aircraft though it is
indirectly based on the Black Hawk program. The State Department's bureau of
political and military affairs determined that it is a civil aircraft,
sweeping away export approvals on a case-by-case basis.
The ruling could free the company to sell the S-92A to China, which is
building up a maritime search-and-rescue fleet.
Ed Steadham, a spokesman for Sikorsky, declined to comment on potential
sales to China or the State Department's decision.
In 2001, China's Ministry of Communications purchased two Sikorsky-built
helicopters in its first step to upgrade airborne offshore search-and-rescue
capabilities. Sikorsky has sold its commercial S-76 helicopter to China
since 1984 for use in offshore oil operations.
The S-76 can accommodate 13 passengers and the S-92A can carry 19 passengers
and is capable of searching for an hour and returning with six survivors
with 30 minutes of fuel in reserve.
I see nothing wrong here, move along people, move along...