With more than $6 billion in foreign military sales in its sights, Sikorsky is to establish a flight and maintenance training academy for the UH-60/S-70 Black Hawk helicopter in Altus, Okla.

The company says many customers, particularly foreign militaries, have difficulty getting access to training for flight crews and maintainers, and rely on providers that are not approved by either the U.S. military or the manufacturer.

“In particular, there is a lack of advanced mission training beyond basic conversion courses and currency training,” says David Adler, president of the company’s aftermarket arm, Sikorsky Aerospace Services.

The lack of training is being exacerbated by strong international demand for the Black Hawk and its naval counterpart, the MH-60/S-70B Seahawk. Sikorsky booked $3.2 billion in UH-60M and MH-60R foreign military sales to four countries in 2012.

In a recent presentation to analysts, Sikorsky President Mick Maurer detailed another $6.3 billion in international UH-60M/S-70i and MH-60/S-70B sales the company is pursuing, mainly in the Middle East and Asia, but also in Latin America and Europe.

Sikorsky has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Altus-based Aviation Training Consulting and is in final discussions to establish the academy.

Projected to open in 2013, the center will be located near Fort Sill, which will provide access to training airspace, certified landing areas and night vision routes.

Sikorsky will open its first Black Hawk training center early next year in Melgar, Colombia. Equipped with a full-motion simulator, the center will train the Colombian army and police, which operate nearly 100 UH-60s, and other Latin American militaries.