Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky subsidiary has entered into a five-year contract to build and supply H-60 Black Hawk helicopters to the U.S. Army and customers of the U.S. Dept. of Defense’s Foreign Military Sales program. The latter would include Saudi Arabia, according to reports.
Lockheed acquired Sikorsky from United Technologies Corp. in late 2015 in a sale estimated at nearly $9 billion. The contractor also noted this will be the ninth multi-year contract for H-60s between Sikorsky and the U.S. government.
The Black Hawk is a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-lift utility helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky since 1972. The current version — the UH-60M/HH-60M helicopters — provide “additional payload and range, advanced digital avionics, better handling qualities and situational awareness, active vibration control, improved survivability, and improved ‘producibility’,” according to Lockheed’s announcement.
"Four decades of production, strong program execution and delivery on behalf of the warfighter, coupled with great affordability for the taxpayer, have been the cornerstones of this program," stated Sam Mehta, Sikorsky’s president for Defense Systems and Services. "This contract allows us to continue supporting the important missions the Black Hawk performs as the workhorse utility and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) helicopter in the U.S. Army inventory."
According to Lockheed, this contract will bring “significant savings” to the U.S. government, compared with purchasing the same number of helicopters over five separate annual contracts.
The contract, which will begin to be fulfilled in October, covers 257 helicopters valued at $3.8 billion, plus options for 103 additional aircraft, with total contract value rising to $5.2 billion.
Lockheed stated that actual production quantities will be determined year-by-year, over the life of the program, based on Congressional funding and Pentagon priorities.