China Aviation Industry Corp. (AVIC) subsidiary Changhe Aircraft has completed building the first S-76C++ civil helicopter airframe in China for Sikorsky.

The helicopter can fly 411nm carrying 12 to 13 passengers at 155kt. It is used for offshore oil support operations and corporate uses.

Sikorsky Strategic Sourcing vice-president John Bishop said the region has a strong need for helicopters, and as Sikorsky establishes the S-76 helicopter manufacturing presence here, they are proud to celebrate this first delivery.

In 2006, the firm had signed an MoU with AVIC to strengthen its manufacturing base in China.

The airframe will be delivered to the Sikorsky facility in the US for customisation and additional airframes are scheduled to be delivered in 2010.

Changhe is a supplier for three Sikorsky’s commercial helicopter programmes and also manufactures S-92 tail pylons and airframe components and assemblies for Sikorsky’s Schweizer 300CBi aircraft.