HUNTSVILLE, AL, 19 July 2012. The U.S. Army and Navy signed an $8.5 billion contract with Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a, aircraft designer based in Stratford, Conn. and a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), to buy a baseline quantity of 653 Black Hawk and Seahawk helicopters through December 2017.
The five-year agreement also allows the Army and Navy to order as many as 263 additional aircraft within the same contractual terms. If exercised, the optional purchases could push the contract value as high as $11.7 billion. Actual production quantities will be determined year-by-year over the life of the program based on funding allocations set by Congress and Pentagon acquisition priorities.
Designated Multi-Year 8 - for the eighth multi-year order of H-60 helicopters since fiscal year 1982 - the signing of the contract has ended more than three years of planning, including six months of negotiation. The base contract includes UH-60M utility and HH-60M MEDEVAC helicopters for the U.S. Army, and MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters for the U.S. Navy. To reach the full baseline value of $8.5 billion, the services are ordering aircraft in the base agreement to be sold via the U.S. Government's Foreign Military Sales program. These aircraft include Foreign Military Sale (FMS) UH-60M aircraft for several allied countries and MH-60R Seahawk anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopters for the Royal Australian Navy.
The UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter is a four-blded, twin-engine medium-lift utility helicopter. The design for the original Black Hawk was submitted in 1972, and was first used by the U.S. Army in 1979 as a tactical transport helicopter. Since its entry into service, the original UH-60A Black Hawk has seen use in conflicts in Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and many other combat zones.
The MH-60R Seahawk began development in 1993. The Seahawk includes a new sensor suite that includes an aircraft survival equipment package, MTS-FLIR, an advanced airborne fleet data link, and an active airborne sonar.
Black Hawk and Seahawk aircraft deliveries under the new contract will begin this month. Sikorsky produces the two H-60M Black Hawk and two MH-60 Seahawk aircraft models on four separate production lines at its final assembly facility in Stratford, Conn., and West Palm Beach, Fla.