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McDONNELL DOUGLAS HELICOPTER CO. SALE/JOINT VENTURE AIMS AT WORLD HELICOPTER MARKET DOMINATION

 McDONNELL DOUGLAS HELICOPTER CO. SALE/JOINT VENTURE AIMS AT
 WORLD HELICOPTER MARKET DOMINATION
 MESA, Ariz., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The advertisement might read: "Strong partner sought for long-term relationship with fiscally healthy, technically advanced, robust producer of 21st century helicopters. Intent: World helicopter market domination.
 "Skilled, experienced staff, leading-edge facilities and substantial backlog included. Excellent profit and cash flow potential. Principals only, please."
 While such an ad may never appear, its focus is real and being implemented today at McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. in Arizona. The company's parent, McDonnell Douglas Corp. (NYSE: MD), announced in August it is offering the helicopter unit as a joint venture partner, enabling it to become the leading company in the rotorcraft industry. If no joint venture is found, McDonnell Douglas will sell the company outright.
 McDonnell Douglas purchased the helicopter unit from the estate of the late Howard Hughes in 1984 for about $470 million.
 "McDonnell Douglas Helicopter is a strong, viable company with excellent cash flow and potential for continuing profits in the years ahead," said company President Dean Borgman.
 "Our product line leads the market segments we serve through advanced technology and design, strong customer service and product support.
 "We are a very attractive potential partner with an especially appealing dowry."
 Borgman said the company operates from the most modern helicopter production facility in the world, with laboratories, test facilities, computerized engineering, design and production capabilities and extensive, state-of-the-art full mission and flight handling simulation proficiency.
 "Along with our new partner, we expect to be number one or two in the markets we serve by developing additional high quality, superior performing and competitively priced helicopters and ordnance products," Borgman said. "We are well positioned to accomplish that goal."
 Among other key assets the company will bring to a new partnership, Borgman listed:
 -- The AH-64A Apache Attack Helicopter, which operated with great impact in Operation Desert Storm, proved itself as the best attack helicopter in the world.
 The company will deliver 811 Apaches to the U.S. Army and has orders from the governments of five other nations for approximately 100 more of the flying tank-killers.
 The company expects to sell as many as 500 Apaches to present and future international customers.
 Beyond that, the U.S. Army and the Congress both favor advanced designs of the Apache that will give it even greater effectiveness.
 In its Defense Authorization Bill recommendation, the House- Senate Conference Committee directed the Army to make Apache modernization its "highest aviation priority." Lawmakers called for continued development of the AH-64C and D models, a project the company already is pursuing. Converting the existing fleet of AH-64As to C and D configurations will keep the company in the Apache production beyond the end of the century.
 -- Commercial helicopter programs are led by the venerable MD 500 series of single turbine rotorcraft. More than 4,000 MD 500s have been delivered since the first version -- the U.S. Army's OH-6A Cayuse -- was introduced in 1963.
 The latest model in the MD 500 family is the MD 520N, a unique helicopter that flies without a tail rotor to counter torque and control the direction of flight. The company's exclusive NOTAR(TM) system provides a new dimension of safety and ease of flight. The system also makes the aircraft the quietest helicopter in the world.
 Since the deliveries one year ago, MD 520N helicopters operate in Europe, North and South America and in the Far East. The company has a backlog of nearly 125 MD 520Ns.
 In early September, an MD 520N set a point-to-point speed record of 155.7 miles per hour between Paris and London.
 "We are pleased that in troubled economic times, we continue to buck industry trends by selling and delivering helicopters," Borgman said. "We believe we are successful in a soft market because our products meet operator requirements."
 The company's newest product is the twin-engine, eight-place MD Explorer, which also utilizes the NOTAR system. The aircraft will substantially expand the company's market penetration by providing a helicopter ideal for air ambulance and off shore work. Neither market is now served by other company products.
 In addition to the safety, ease of flight and quiet operation provided by the NOTAR system, the MD Explorer should please its owners with direct operating costs expected to be among the lowest of competing-sized helicopters. More than 250 certificates of interest have been issued to potential customers who placed non-refundable deposits to hold delivery positions.
 The MD Explorer will have its first flight before the end of the year, at which time the certificates of interest will be converted to firm orders.
 -- The company's less publicized but highly successful line of ordnance products are the mainstay of several U.S. and foreign military weapon systems. The Apache helicopter is armed with the company's 30mm Chain Gun(R) automatic cannon, while the Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle features the 25mm Bushmaster. The company has produced nearly 9,000 automatic cannons since 1981 and is under contract for more than 1,000 additional guns for the U.S. Army and international customers.
 To expand its reach in the ordnance market, the company has developed several new guns, the 20mm Pit Viper; 30mm ASP; 30mm Bushmaster II; 35mm (or 50mm) Bushmaster III.
 -- In terms of technical proficiency, the company is among the most advanced in the aerospace industry. Its core competencies include expertise in advanced materials and structures, rotor and anti-torque systems, integrated avionics and advanced flight controls, and flight technology and advanced research methods.
 The company has led the industry five years running in the U.S. government's grading of industry research and development performance.
 "We are in an exceptionally good position to join with a strong partner and dominate our industry," Borgman said. "Our products are right for the times, our research and development efforts will keep us at the leading edge of rotorcraft technology and our financial base is sound."
 -0- 10/13/92
 /CONTACT: Ken Jensen of McDonnell Douglas Helicopter, 602-891-2119/
 (MD) CO: McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co.; McDonnell Douglas Corp. ST: Arizona IN: ARO SU: JVN


JL -- LA014 -- 9336 10/13/92 12:43 EDT
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Date:Oct 13, 1992
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