STRATFORD, CT-Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced the completion of the first UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter cockpit produced in the Czech Republic by Aero Vodochody, a longtime Sikorsky supplier that has manufactured more than 300 S-76 commercial helicopter airframes since 2000. Sikorsky awarded Aero Vodochody a contract in January 2010 to begin producing the cockpits as a second source for the newest Black Hawk model. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

Through the use of innovative virtual tools and robust team dynamics, the Sikorsky Strategic Sourcing project team partnered with Aero Vodochody to complete its first cockpit ahead of schedule. The announcement highlighted the newly designed, lean production area during a ceremony at the Aero Vodochody facility in Odolena Voda, Czech Republic. The event was attended by executives from both companies, as well as government dignitaries and members of the U.S. Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), which oversees day-to-day activities involving Sikorsky's military aircraft contracts with the U.S. government.

"Today marks a new phase in the long and successful relationship between Sikorsky Aircraft and Aero Vodochody," said Shane Eddy, Vice President of Global Supply Chain for Sikorsky. "Aero Vodochody has distinguished itself as a reliable and quality-driven supplier, and we are proud to have taken this next step in furthering our cooperation."

"Aero Vodochody is proud to be part of a team that produces this legendary helicopter," says Ladislav Simek, president and chairman of the board at Aero Vodochody. "We greatly appreciate the trust invested into our company from Sikorsky Aircraft in extending our cooperation by awarding us new business. I believe that our long and successful business relationship will continue well into the future."

Since December 2009, Aero Vodochody has performed at the Supplier Gold level, which is the highest designation awarded for customer-focused service, on-time delivery and high-quality products under the United Technologies' Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) operating system. Aero Vodochody is the largest aerospace manufacturer in the Czech Republic, mainly focusing on cooperation with leading aerospace manufacturers in international aero structures projects.

In addition to Aero Vodochody, Sikorsky also contracts with Kaman Aero space for Black Hawk cockpit production.