Presidential Copter Contract Said to Go to Sikorsky TodayTony Capaccio
United Technologies Corp.’s Sikorsky Aircraft unit will receive a Pentagon contract today for as many as 21 helicopters to ferry the president and executive branch officials, according to U.S. defense officials.
A team led by Sikorsky was the only bidder on the project, said the officials, who didn’t disclose the value of the contract and asked not to be identified before the announcement, which they said is planned for 5 p.m. Washington time.
The Pentagon has spent years trying to develop a replacement for the executive helicopter, known as Marine One when it carries the president. Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled an earlier program managed by Lockheed Martin Corp. in 2009, after what started as a $6.1 billion project for as many as 28 aircraft more than doubled to a projected $13 billion.
About $3.1 billion had been spent by then on a program that President Barack Obama cited in February 2009 as “an example of the procurement process gone amok.”
This time, Sikorsky will lead a team of Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, Rockwell Collins Inc., based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Morris Township, New Jersey-based Honeywell International Inc.; United Technologies Aerospace Systems; and New York-based L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. Fairfield, Connecticut-based General Electric Co. will supply engines for a modified version of Sikorksy’s S-92 helicopter.
The first six helicopters are expected to be delivered in 2019 and fielded the next year, according to Navy documents submitted for the fiscal 2015 budget. The Naval Air Systems Command will manage the program.
Frans Jurgens, a spokesman for the Sikorsky unit of Hartford, Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp., had no immediate comment on the fixed-price-incentive contract, which sets a ceiling while rewarding a contractor for keeping costs less than targets.