the CT-based Sikorsky Army has lost a $1.3 billion Black Hawk replacement contract in 2022
Connecticut-based Sikorsky lost a $1.3 billion contract to build an aircraft that will replace the Army’s fleet of Black Hawk helicopters, failing to win over Pentagon brass with its Defiant-X prototype in partnership with Boeing. The contract was instead awarded to Texas-based Bell, which aims to build its own V-280 Valor tilt-rotor aircraft. Contact UsThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Recognizing the long-term importance of the Black Hawk replacement program to the Connecticut economy, the Connecticut General Assembly approved incentives for Sikorsky if it landed the deal. Gov. Ned Lamont says the results are “disappointing” for Sikorsky and parent company Lockheed Martin, which at last report had more than 8,000 employees in Connecticut in Bridgeport,Stratford ,Trumbull and Shelton .
Lamont said in a statement that ” a legacy Connecticut company with one of the best-trained workforces in the world Sikorsky is, and as leadership takes the time to review their bids to better understand the Army’s decisions, we stand by them and their employees,” .Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin will continue to work closely with the state to secure future opportunities to build Connecticut’s most advanced aircraft.”
Sikorsky and Boeing have the option to challenge the award if they find fault with the Pentagon’s underlying approach to selecting the Bell V-280 Valor, which, like the V, takes off vertically before swiveling its rotor set to take off like a conventional aircraft. the US Marine Corps use 22 Osprey .
Sikorsky mounted a successful challenge 15 years ago after the Pentagon awarded Boeing a major contract for a new fleet of search-and-rescue helicopters, Sikorsky successfully argued that the Pentagon applied inconsistent criteria to assess the maintenance costs of rival aircraft. with those helicopters now being built in Stratford, Sikorsky would win the contract,.
Scott Donnelly said We are honored that “the US Army has selected the Bell V-280 Valor as its next-generation assault aircraft,” , CEO of Bell parent Textron, RI. Extraordinary , based in Providence and transformative weapons systems to meet the Army’s mission requirements.”
Sikorsky officials claimed its Defiant-X design was more maneuverable and able to overcome the V-280 Valor’s speed advantage by being able to land and take off faster in hostile terrain.
“the Defiant-x is the transformative aircraft the U.S. military We remain confident that . its critical missions today and into the future needs to accomplish,” Sikorsky and Boeing said in a joint statement Monday evening.” We will evaluate next time while reviewing feedback from the u.s military .”
Sikorsky and Bell are also competing to develop a new armed scout helicopter for the military, with Bell offering a traditional helicopter called the Invictus, and the Sikorsky offering a helicopter with a stacked, counter-rotating rotor set similar to the Defiant-X design.
The Black Hawk replacement was a much larger program, with Sikorsky building more than 4,000 Black Hawk and variant helicopters since the 1970s. The company expects decades more to upgrade these helicopters as the next generation of utility aircraft is developed under the Pentagon’s “Future Vertical Lift” program.
Sikorsky has begun production on a fleet of 200 CH-53K helicopters for the US Marines and is also building a new helicopter for the White House. But company officials suggested a year ago and since the loss of the Army’s future long-range assault aircraft program could result in a lower employment base in Connecticut in the long term. In November 2021, Sikorsky President Paul Lemo called the decision on Sikorsky’s long-term future “existential”.
In a statement, the U.S. Army’s assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology called the decision process “thoughtful and orderly,” with a decision originally expected by July.