HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced Wednesday a $1.24 billion contract to build the next fleet of "Marine One" presidential helicopters, ending a yearslong effort to return the high-profile aerospace project to Connecticut.
Sikorsky, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., said the contract is to modify, test and deliver six S-92 helicopters and two trainer simulators to the U.S. Marine Corps. It says it will eventually supply 21 aircraft by 2023.
"Every president since Eisenhower has flown in a Sikorsky, made right in Connecticut," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. "I am thrilled to see this contract come back to Stratford where it has always belonged and where it should have gone in the first place."
Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, both D-Conn., said the Navy's decision "comes five years and $3.2 billion too late after first pursuing failed foreign alternatives."
DeLauro and Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., said the state's congressional delegation lobbied the Pentagon to end a previous contract with Lockheed Martin Corp. and Europe-based AugustaWestland after cost overruns nearly doubled the price of the program and saw it fall six years behind schedule.
Then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, citing cost, canceled Lockheed Martin contracts in 2009 for a helicopter to carry the president and a communications satellite.