KEILA TORRES OCASIO ON JUL 13, 2017
STRATFORD -- The U.S. government has ordered 257 H-60 Black Hawk helicopters from Sikorsky Aircraft in a five-year deal valued at $3.8 billion.
The contract marks the ninth time the U.S. has entered into a multi-year agreement for Sikorsky's H-60 aircraft.
The previous contract, signed in July 2012, was a five-year deal with the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy for 653 Black Hawk and Seahawk helicopters. While Stratford employees will be ramping up production of the Black Hawks under the new agreement, Sikorsky workers in Troy, Ala., are seeing declining production on the Seahawk.
That reduction led Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, to alert employees of the Alabama plant last week of layoffs there.
"Production of the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter -- the primary source of work for the facility -- is declining after successfully meeting customer requirements," said Paul Jackson, a Sikorsky spokesman, in a statement. "A reduction is necessary at this time to ensure we remain competitive. This will impact approximately 160 employees who will exit the business by the end of August."
Deliveries of the Black Hawk helicopters produced in Stratford, meanwhile, to the U.S. Army and foreign customers are scheduled to begin in October and continue through 2022.
"Four decades of production, strong program execution and delivery on behalf of the warfighter, coupled with great affordability for the taxpayer, have been the cornerstones of this program," said Sam Mehta, president of Defense Systems and Services for Sikorsky. "This contract allows us to continue supporting the important missions the Black Hawk performs as the workhorse utility and medical evacuation helicopter in the U.S. Army inventory."
The contract also includes options for another 103 aircraft, which would push the worth of the contract over $5 billion. Sikorsky has been delivering Black Hawks to the Army since 1978.
"This contract will provide our Army, sister services and allies with state-of-the-art modernized helicopters to complete crucial missions and save lives," said Col. Billy Jackson, the utility helicopters project manager. "Moreover, this effort will stabilize our manufacturing base and control long-term costs, and ultimately provide significant savings to the taxpayer."
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UH-60M Black Hawk: Details