Jakarta (ANTARA) - State-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI) has expressed its readiness to assemble 24 Sikorsky S-70M Black Hawk helicopters, which the Indonesian Government is planning to purchase from the American company.

PT DI and Lockheed Martin signed a head of agreement regarding the purchase of 24 multipurpose helicopters, opening up the possibility of PT DI obtaining permission to assemble the main system and the operation system (inspection, ground, and production flight testing), carry out modification, and conduct system upgrades for the Black Hawk helicopters, as well as carry out domestic maintenance for the helicopters.

The cooperation document was signed by president director of PT Dirgantara Indonesia, Gita Amperiawan, and vice president of global business development at Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin, Jeff White, in Washington D.C., the United States, on Wednesday. The signing was witnessed by Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto.

Subianto welcomed the partnership between PT DI and Lockheed Martin, which acquired the helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft in 2015.

"This collaboration will be able to add to the strength of the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and strengthen our domestic defense industry," the minister said in a statement.

At the event, he was accompanied by State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Deputy Minister Rosan Roeslani and Head of the Defense Facilities Agency of the Defense Ministry Rear Marshal Yusuf Jauhari.

Meanwhile, Amperiawan said he believes that the procurement of the helicopters will generate added value for Indonesia.

"We believe this strategic collaboration between PT DI and Sikorsky will generate added value for PT DI's capabilities in integrating, customizing, modifying, and upgrading systems for helicopter manufacture," he added.

He further said that the collaboration will allow his party to carry out maintenance, repair, and operation (MRO) of the Sikorsky S-70M Black Hawk helicopter along with its systems and engines.

"By becoming Sikorsky's official supplier, PT DI can also develop its aerostructure business," he added.

Meanwhile, Sikorsky Aircraft President Paul Lemmo said the collaboration reflected the commitment between the two parties to support the planned procurement of 24 S-70M Black Hawk helicopters for Indonesia.

"The Black Hawk is designed and built with the toughest military standards. It can also quickly and reliably deploy personnel and supplies to geographically dispersed populations in large archipelagos, such as Indonesia," he added.

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Translator: Genta Tenri M, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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