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Sikorsky Poised to Win $6.8 Billion U.S. Chopper Contract

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Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- United Technologies Corp.’s Sikorsky helicopter unit is in position to win a U.S. Air Force contract valued at as much as $6.8 billion for 112 rescue helicopters after competitors failed to bid, according to company spokesmen.

A team of Northrop Grumman Corp. and AgustaWestland NV; a partnership of Boeing Co. and Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.; and European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Co. all declined to submit bids by a Jan. 3 deadline, company spokesmen Randy Belote, Andrew Lee and James Darcy said yesterday in e-mailed statements.

“AgustaWestland is Sikorsky’s main rival here, so if they don’t bid it’s a nice win for Sikorsky,” Richard Aboulafia, military market analyst for the Teal Group of Fairfax, Virginia, said. “They get to keep a profitable segment that they’ve kept for decades.”

Air Force spokesman Charles Gulick declined in an e-mail to discuss the bidding or when Sikorsky might be expected to receive the contract. Gulick confirmed that the contract for the Combat Rescue Helicopter is valued at about $6.8 billion.

The helicopter is intended to rescue pilots downed during missions and perform civil search and rescue, humanitarian missions, disaster relief and casualty evacuation.

“Sikorsky can confirm that we have submitted a bid” with a “fully compliant H-60 variant,” company spokesperson Frans Jurgens said in an e-mailed statement, referring to its candidate for the helicopter contract.

Gulick said “the Air Force is committed to a fair, open and transparent process to select a new combat search-and-rescue helicopter that meets the established warfighter requirements at an affordable price for the taxpayer.”

“We are prohibited from releasing information while in the request for proposal and selection processes,” he said. “Once we select and announce the final contractor we will be able to openly discuss the details.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Capaccio in Washington at acapaccio@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net

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