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Lamont announces agreement with Sikorsky that could bring new helicopters and jobs

n this March 10, 2009 file photo, workers walk outside of Black Hawk helicopter maker Sikorsky Aircraft, in Stratford, Conn.
Douglas Healey
AP Photo
In this March 10, 2009, file photo, workers walk outside of Black Hawk helicopter maker Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Conn.

Connecticut officials say they’ve got a 20-year agreement with helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky to keep the company in the state should it win a federal contract to make two new lines of military helicopters.

“This is the next generation of vertical lift, the next generation of choppers,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a news conference Monday. “We believe that Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky, is the front-runner as the incumbent.”

The agreement still needs legislative approval, and none of its provisions -- including $75 million in state incentives to the company and its parent, Lockheed Martin -- take effect unless the company wins the federal bid for the new helicopters. The state says it expects that decision in August or September.

Should Lockheed Martin win the contract, the company will make helicopters to replace equipment like the Black Hawk with aircraft built with what Lamont called the “next generation of vertical lift” technology.

The state said the performance-based incentives will be in the form of sales and use tax offsets and tax credits. The state also said the agreement requires Sikorsky to maintain its headquarters in Connecticut and keep jobs in the state through 2042.

David Lehman, commissioner of the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development, says it makes economic sense for the state to be a partner in the deal.

“We wanted to be good partners and work with Sikorsky on what we thought was a tremendous economic opportunity,” he said Monday.

Paul Lemmo, president of Sikorsky, said in a statement that this collaboration “will sustain and help bring more high-tech, high-paying jobs to the state while bolstering Connecticut’s leadership in aerospace production for decades to come.”

And the announcement was met with bipartisan support. Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal called it “amazingly exciting news.” Connecticut state Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly, whose district is Stratford, praised it, too.

“Sikorsky creates thousands of jobs, is involved in our community, and drives business to many smaller manufacturers, suppliers and local mom-and-pop shops across our state,” Kelly said in a statement. “A commitment by Sikorsky to continue innovating in our state and creating opportunity is an investment in the next generation of workers and families.”

The company has facilities in Stratford, Bridgeport, Shelton, North Haven and Trumbull.

Updated: March 28, 2022 at 5:13 PM EDT
This story has been updated.
Jeff Cohen started in newspapers in 2001 and joined Connecticut Public in 2010, where he worked as a reporter and fill-in host. In 2017, he was named news director. Then, in 2022, he became a senior enterprise reporter.

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