Blackhawk helicopter maker Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has delivered two state-of-the-art helicopter units that will provide air medical transportation services to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the California defense contractor announced Monday (Oct. 19).
The new S-76D aircraft will double the helicopter fleet of the Little Rock’s hospital "Angel One" emergency medical services (EMS) team that performs life-saving missions in Arkansas. Company officials said Sikorsky S-76C+ helicopters have been active at the hospital since 2002, responding to critical calls to transport young children including infants to the hospital for the unique care it provides.
Arkansas Children's Hospital COO David Berry said the fleet of helicopters is crucial to the hospital's lifesaving mission.
“We are thrilled to upgrade our existing fleet with the latest technology in the industry," Berry said in a news release. "The new S-76D helicopters, with their speed, payload and range, will continue supporting as the connective tissue for serving our patients and families as we develop our statewide network of care."
Arkansas Children's Hospital's two new helicopters are outfitted with accommodations for two pilots, four medical crew and two patients, Sikosky officials said. The next-generation choppers also include medical suites with medical gases and patient monitoring systems.
Earlier this year, defense giant Lockheed Martin announced the acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft from United Technologies in a deal worth $9 billion. Lockheed Martin, whose Missile Fire and Control (MFC) division operates a large industrial and manufacturing facility in Camden, expects to close the Sikorsky deal in the fourth quarter of 2015 or the first quarter of 2016, company officials said.
Besides use as an EMS unit, the S-76D line of helicopters has a long history in the offshore oil and gas drilling industry and for executive and VIP transport, company officials said.