LAAD 2019: Sikorsky honoured lives saved by Brazilian Armed Forces

During the LAAD Defense and Security exhibition that is taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, recognized three heroic rescue efforts of the Brazilian Air Force and Brazilian Navy. The company also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Brazilian Army's aviation branch.

LAAD 2019 Sikorsky honoured lives saved by Brazilian Armed Forces
Lockheed Martin's Dale Benett presents a rescue award plaque to the Brazilian Navy HS-1 squadron during a series of recognition events at LAAD 2019, Brazil (Picture Source : Sikorsky)

“We were incredibly honored to recognize our customers,” said Adam Schierholz, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems’ (RMS) director of business development in Latin America. “The courage and dedication of Brazil’s Armed Services inspire us to continue pushing technology forward to save lives.”

Three squadrons from the Brazilian Air Force were recognized by Sikorsky with commemorative plaques for two different rescues that occurred in December 2018. The 2º/10º Aviation Group and 5º/8º Aviation Group conducted a three-day search and rescue for a crashed civilian aircraft – flying their Black Hawks over dense forests near Mato Grosso, Brazil. The squadrons found the plane’s two occupants alive and ushered them to safety. Two weeks later, the 7º/8º Aviation Group rescued three people and a dog from another civilian airplane crash near Tabatinga, Brazil. Ten. Brig. Egito, commander of COMPREP, who received the Brazil Air Force plaques, remarked: “Our crewmembers are ready for rescue missions 24/7. The training is important, but so is the aircraft. So the combination of men and machine is what make these rescues successful. I appreciate the recognition, and I guarantee this aircraft is part of our history and mission.”

Brazilian Navy squadron HS-1 was honored by Sikorsky with a commemorative plaque for one of its most challenging rescue efforts to date – an at-sea, nighttime rescue off the coast of Cabo Frio, Brazil, in August 2016. The rescue team searched tirelessly for 36 hours until they found the three survivors of the capsized boat, who had been in the water without food or drink. The squadron executed the hair-raising rescue flawlessly, bringing all three occupants to safety. Their efforts were so impressive that they were recognized in 2017 with the American Helicopter Society International’s prestigious Kossler prize. The event also marked the first true night rescue for the HS-1 squadron using a SEAHAWK®. Rear Adm. Montenegro, commander of Brazil’s Naval Air Force, said: “We are very honored and flattered with Sikorsky’s recognition. This rescue is a proof of the crew training excellency and the aircraft’s efficiency. We thank Sikorsky for the partnership in maintaining and operating this capable helicopter.”

Sikorsky dually recognized the Brazilian Army for celebrating 100 years of aviation as of 2019 – and at the same time achieving 100 percent availability of their Black Hawk fleet, including scheduled maintenance. The Brazilian Army and Sikorsky teamed up in 2016 to increase the availability of their Black Hawk fleet to over 70 percent through a series of training, maintenance and sustainment collaboration efforts. Gen. Paulo Roberto, director of Army Aviation Material, provided this anecdote: “When I took office at the 4th Battallion, the Black Hawk availability rates were the opposite of now, because we did not have an integrated work with Sikorsky. We have worked together to recuperate this, and I am now very pleased to see our rates. We are very satisfied with this partnership and would like to improve it even more. The Black Hawk always make a difference, it is a state-of-the-art aircraft.”