Sikorsky Wins Pentagon Contract For Marine One Helicopter
By Stephen Singer
Hartford Courant
December 15, 2016
The Department of Defense on Thursday announced a $138 million contract with Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. for maintenance and repairs of the presidential helicopter, a prestigious aircraft with strong ties to Connecticut.
The decision by the Navy followed negotiations with Sikorsky's parent company, Lockheed Martin Corp., over costs. Naval Air Systems Command had pursued a "parallel plan" to do the work in Florida, the Defense Department said. The two sides have since agreed to keep the work in Stratford. Work is expected to end in November 2022.
As many as 85 jobs were in jeopardy at Sikorsky, which has built and maintained the presidential Marine One helicopter for decades.
Sikorsky spokesman Paul Jackson said the helicopter manufacturer has 40 years of experience "fulfilling this no-fail mission and appreciates the opportunity to continue doing so."
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Lockheed Martin and the Department of Defense disagreed on cost and how it could be reduced.
"Both sides, the company and the Pentagon, were flexible," he said. "And they came to understand their positions better."
"The workforce, [which] has the experience working with Marine One, is best equipped and prepared to ensure that the fleet continues to be safe and reliable," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, whose Third Congressional District includes the Sikorsky plant.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said the "united effort" of Sikorsky, workers and the congressional delegation prevailed in the battle to keep the work in Connecticut.
President-elect Donald Trump already flies his own Sikorsky helicopter, but Blumenthal said "there's no more prestigious helicopter" than Marine One.
"These are not your average company helicopters," he said. "My guess is he'll be flying this."
Sikorsky announced in May 2014 a $1.24 billion contract to build the next fleet of "Marine One" presidential helicopters.