STRATFORD, Connecticut - Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), and Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT) will compete jointly for the contract to replace the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of combat search and rescue helicopters.
The two companies signed a teaming agreement formalizing their intent to offer an advanced version of Sikorsky’s UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopter for the Air Force’s HH-60 Personnel Recovery Recapitalization program (HH-60 Recap). The agreement positions Sikorsky as prime contractor, with Lockheed Martin as the major subsystems supplier.
The HH-60 Recap program seeks to replace the 112 existing HH-60G PAVE HAWKTM helicopter fleet with an equal number of new aircraft requiring minimum airframe modification or mission systems development. The initial operational capability of eight aircraft — four trainers and four mission-ready aircraft, plus test aircraft — is expected in fiscal year 2015.
“Our team has the resources and experience to rapidly deliver the proven UH-60M airframe design with mature situational awareness sensors and mission systems,” said Scott Starrett, president of Sikorsky Military Systems. “We believe a UH-60M aircraft missionized for the complexities of the combat search and rescue mission will fit seamlessly into established Air Force training and logistics operations, thus providing a fiscally responsible and reliable platform for rescue operations.”
Sikorsky submitted a response to the U.S. Air Force’s HH-60 Recap request for information on April 23. The document details how the UH-60M helicopter would be manufactured and integrated as a low-risk, off-the-shelf solution for the combat search and rescue mission.
Operational with the U.S. Army (including as a medevac helicopter in the HH-60M configuration), the UH-60M features a strengthened airframe, wider rotor blades and more powerful engines than earlier-design BLACK HAWK helicopters. Sikorsky has delivered 200 ‘M’ model helicopters to the U.S. Army since 2005.
Lockheed Martin has provided integrated avionics and mission systems for other H-60 aircraft, including U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force special operations helicopters, and Air Force combat rescue helicopters. Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin also have a well established working relationship over 38 years, delivering more than 400 SH-60B and MH-60R/S mission-ready aircraft to the U.S. Navy.
“Lockheed Martin has 25 years of experience integrating mission systems for special operations and combat rescue helicopters,” said Dan Spoor, Aviation Systems vice president at Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors in Owego, N.Y. “We also can bring to the HH-60 Recap program the mature systems and readiness from our work on the prior CSAR-X competition.”
In April, the companies announced a teaming agreement to compete jointly for the U.S. Navy’s revived VXX Presidential Helicopter program. The companies will share facilities, experience and engineering talent for both opportunities.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 136,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
This press release contains forward looking statements regarding the HH-60 Helicopter Recap program that involve uncertainties and could change, such as future government funding allocations, changes in government procurement priorities and challenges in developing and servicing new technologies. Such uncertainties could affect investment decisions and outcomes.