Local-based Cobham Commercial Systems has been selected to work on upgrades to the Sikorsky S-61T helicopter. A reputation for “innovation and system performance in harsh conditions” cinched the partnership for Cobham. On April 19, 2011, numerous helicopters were battling multiple blazes associated with the PK Complex Fire, including this air tanker version of the Sikorsky S-61. Here, it takes turns with another helicopter, sucking water from a tank at Sportsman's World to attempt to extinguish a blaze near the subdivision's entrance.


Plans to modernize Sikorsky's S-61T helicopter include significant contributions from Mineral Wells-based Cobham Commercial Systems.

According to a Cobham press release, the project began in 2010 when the U.S. Department of State agreed to purchase as many as 110 decommissioned S-61 helicopters to be repurposed for passenger and cargo transport missions around the world.

According to John Johnson, director of commercial customer support and S-61 programs, Sikorsky chose Cobham as a partner in the project because of the company's strong reputation in the avionics field.

"We are pleased to work with Cobham, which has a solid reputation for innovation and system performance in harsh conditions," he said.

The local company will supply a suite of advanced avionics for the modernization program, including systems to find direction, measure distance and control audio.

Cobham General Manager Roger J. Smith explained the company looks forward to the business relationship with Sikorsky.

"We are proud to have been selected to enhance the mission performance of Sikorsky's S-61T aircraft with Cobham's intuitive 21st Century cockpit," he said.

Helicopters receiving the technological makeover will be used for a variety of missions, Johnson explained.

"With its rugged endurance, spaciousness, and lift capabilities, the modernized S-61 aircraft can be outfitted to meet a wide variety of requirements," he said. "It provides superior value for a mid-size multi-mission helicopter."

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