Lockheed Martin to acquire UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter designer Sikorsky for $9 billion

July 21, 2015
BETHESDA, Md., 21 July 2015. Lockheed Martin Corp., the largest U.S. defense contractor, announced plans Monday to acquire Sikorsky Aircraft, maker of the military UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and its many variants, for $9 billion.
BETHESDA, Md., 21 July 2015. Lockheed Martin Corp., the largest U.S. defense contractor, announced plans Monday to acquire Sikorsky Aircraft, maker of the military UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and its many variants, for $9 billion.

The acquisition, expected to close near the first of the year, formalizes a longtime partnership between the two companies that produced U.S. Navy versions of the MH-60 helicopter for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and other kinds of naval warfare, as well as the VH-92 Presidential Helicopter and Combat Rescue Helicopter.

Although the Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training segment in Owego, N.Y., is listed as prime contractor for the MH-60 Seahawk, Sikorsky provides the actual aircraft, which is based on its venerable UH-60 helicopter.

The $9 billion price that Lockheed Martin is paying to Sikorsky parent company United Technologies Corp. in Hartford, Conn., effectively is reduced to about $7.1 billion after tax benefits resulting from the transaction, Lockheed Martin officials say. Sikorsky is based in Stratford, Conn.

“I’m confident this acquisition will help us extend our core business into the growing areas of helicopter production and sustainment," says Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chairman, president, and CEO.

Related: Sikorsky to support nine MH-60R maritime helicopters to Danish navy in $115.7 million contract

Lockheed Martin's net sales last year were $45.6 billion -- $22 billion of that came from contracts awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), which makes Lockheed Martin the nation's number-one defense contract based on DOD contract revenue.

Sikorsky's 2014 revenue was about $6.3 billion -- $5.5 billion of that came from DOD contracts, making Sikorsky the nation's sixth largest defense contractor based on DOD contract revenue.

Besides its partnerships with Sikorsky on the MH-60 helicopter variants, the VH-92 Presidential Helicopter, and Combat Rescue Helicopter, Lockheed Martin has not been an independent helicopter designer for a long time.

Lockheed Corp. developed the XH-51 three-bladed, single-engine experimental helicopter in 1962 as a test vehicle for a joint Army-Navy research program to explore rigid rotor technology. That program wrapped up in 1964.

In 1966 Lockheed Corp. designed the U.S. Army AH-56 Cheyenne attack helicopter to escort and protect U.S. transport helicopters during the Vietnam war. The attack helicopter proved to be unreliable and was cancelled in 1969.

Related: Army places $241.7 million order with Sikorsky to build 22 new UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters

In 2007 Lockheed Martin worked together with AgustaWestland in Cascina Costa, Italy, to design the VH-71 Kestrel, a variant of the AgustaWestland AW101 helicopter as a candidate to replace the U.S. Marine Corps Marine One U.S. Presidential helicopter fleet. The program was cancelled in 2009 due to high costs.

Sikorsky Aircraft was founded in 1925 by Russian immigrant Igor Sikorsky. The company moved to Stratford, Conn., from Roosevelt, N.Y., in 1929. The company became part of United Technologies ancestor United Aircraft and Transport Corp. in 1929.

Sikorsky in its early years focused on land-based and amphibious fixed-wing aircraft, and in 1939 developed the Sikorsky R-4, which in 1942 would be the first stable, single-rotor, fully controllable helicopter to enter large full-scale production.

For more information contact Lockheed Martin online at www.lockheedmartin.com, or Sikorsky at www.sikorsky.com.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

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