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Sikorsky to deliver 102 new tactical multirole helicopters to US Armed Force

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World Aviation Defense & Security News - Sikorsky Aircraft

 
 
Sikorsky to deliver 102 new tactical multirole helicopters to US armed forces
 
The US armed forces, through their Army and Navy components, are purchasing 102 helicopters from Sikorsky Aircraft for $1.3 billion, a move likely to retain jobs in Connecticut's struggling defense industry. The Navy's decision reverses plans earlier this year to cancel a portion of the multi-year deal. The Army is buying 65 helicopters, including 41 UH-60 Black Hawk models and 24 HH-60M platforms, at a cost of $771 million.
     
The US armed forces, through their Army and Navy components, are purchasing 102 helicopters from Sikorsky Aircraft for $1.3 billion, a move likely to retain jobs in Connecticut's struggling defense industry. The Navy's decision reverses plans earlier this year to cancel a portion of the multi-year deal. The Army is buying 65 helicopters, including 41 UH-60 Black Hawk models and 24 HH-60M platforms, at a cost of $771 million. Sikorsky's HH-60M multirole tactical helicopters "Medevac" variant
     
The Navy agreed to purchase 37 MH-60 helicopters for about $535 million.

"I am extremely pleased that the Army and Navy have jointly continued their multi-year contract for 102 additional Sikorsky helicopters for this year," U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, said in an announcement Tuesday.

"These helicopters continue to play a critical role in maintaining our national security -- whether as logistics carriers, medical evacuation platforms or to maintain anti-submarine capabilities," the senator said.

A spokesman for Sikorsky did not return calls seeking comment.

The decisions are viewed as good news for Connecticut's $25 billion defense industry and its hundreds of spin-off manufacturers, which collectively account for more than 50,000 jobs. Pentagon dollars have been shrinking in recent years as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq draw to a close.

Some estimates show the value of Sikorsky contracts fell by $2.3 billion between 2012 and 2013. Sikorsky is a division of United Technologies Corp.

Although the purchase is part of a multi-year $8.4 billion contract with Sikorsky, the Navy side of the deal was in doubt.

Earlier this year, the Navy announced plans to drop the purchase of 29 MH-60R helicopters for the 2016 fiscal year portion of the multi-year procurement.

The MH-60R is used for anti-submarine and surface warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Another version is used for medevac operations and insertions.

Blumenthal, who serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee's Air-Land Subcommittee, said he repeatedly took issue with Navy leadership about the impact of cancelling the contract on military readiness.

The senator also expressed outrage over the cost of ending the contract, which would have resulted in a $250 million termination fee without any benefit to the Navy's operational capacity.

"I know Sikorsky and its highly-skilled Connecticut workforce will again deliver on time and on budget, providing our warfighters the most capable and modern equipment available," Blumenthal said.

The Pentagon in 2012 struck the $8.5 billion deal with Sikorsky to purchase 653 helicopters through 2017.

The deal included options for 263 more helicopters.