Navy Keeps Whole Multi-Year Order For Sikorsky Helicopters

Army, Navy move forward on plan to buy 102 Sikorsky helicopters

The U.S. Army and Navy will follow through on a planned $1.3 billion contract to buy more than 100 helicopters from Sikorsky, a purchase that months ago was expected to be trimmed by more than two dozen aircraft.

The Army awarded the Stratford-based company a $771.9 million contract for 41 UH-60M Black Hawks helicopters and 24 HH-60M medical evacuation Pave Hawks helicopters. The Navy will buy 37 MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters for about $535 million.

The orders come as the next phase of an $8.4 billion multi-year contract the Pentagon signed with Sikorksy in 2012, though the numbers for this year were not always so solid.

Earlier this year, the Navy had plans to cut 29 of the Sea Hawks from its purchase, according to U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, whose office said it pushed to have the orders kept whole.

According to news reports, the cuts stemmed from the Navy's plan to retire a large aircraft carrier so it would need one fewer air wing of the helicopters.

Scott Starrett, vice president of government business development for Sikorsky, told DefenseNews at the time, "The biggest change I think — which is troublesome — is I think this would be the first multiyear in the history of the U.S. government to be broken."

Adding to the difficulty of canceling the orders: The termination would have cost the Pentagon an extra $250 million in fees.

"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," said Blumenthal, chairman of the Senate's Air and Land subcommittee. "I have worked closely with the Navy to ensure their recognition of the urgent, life-saving need for these helicopters, even in the face of challenging financial times and will continue to do so in the coming fiscal year."

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