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Stratford's Sikorsky Makes Deal With Poland To Supply Black Hawks

A Black Hawk helicopter flies a low-level mission over Iraq in January 2004. Black Hawk helicopters are assembled in Stratford.
A Black Hawk helicopter flies a low-level mission over Iraq in January 2004. Black Hawk helicopters are assembled in Stratford. Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Suzanne M. Jenkins, U.S. Air Force

STRATFORD, Conn. — U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy applauded reports that Poland will purchase several Black Hawk helicopters, which are assembled at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford.

“It’s clear — Sikorsky helicopters are the best in the world. I’m thrilled that Poland decided to reverse its original bidding decision and choose Lockheed Martin to supply Black Hawks for the coming years,” said Murphy, D-Conn.

“This deal will mean more manufacturing and engineering work coming to Stratford through the Black Hawk program, just as exciting new CH-53K King Stallion work begins to ramp up. Today’s a great day for jobs in Connecticut.”

Lockheed Martin, parent company of Sikorsky, will work with Leonardo-Finmeccanica SpA of Italy to supply the helicopters, with Sikorsky producing two Black Hawks this year followed by eight more in 2017 and likely 11 more in 2018.

Murphy said he advocated for this deal: He traveled to Poland to meet with Minister of Defense Tomasz Siemoniak, as well as met with Polish Deputy Defense Minister Tomasz Szatkowski, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and other Polish officials to make the case for Connecticut-made helicopters.

Murphy is a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a founder of the bipartisan U.S. Senate caucus on Poland.

In other news at Sikorsky, members of Teamsters Local 1150 voted overwhelmingly Sunday to approve a deal between Lockheed Martin and the state to keep Sikorsky Aircraft in Connecticut.

The membership voted 2,104 to 140 to approve the plan. Sikorsky will build 200 heavy-lift CH-53K King Stallion helicopters for the U.S. Navy in the state and keep its headquarters in Stratford as part of the $220 million deal with the state of Connecticut.

The union was the final group to approve the contract, which passed the General Assembly last month.

As part of the deal, hourly rates for employees hired after July 1, 2017, will be cut 25 percent, according to the Teamsters Local 1150 website. Current employees will receive a $1,500 ratification bonus for approving the deal.

The deal will also keep Sikorsky at its current Stratford headquarters until at least 2032.

The agreement that the state made with Sikorsky owner Lockheed Martin will retain and grow 8,000 direct jobs and see Sikorsky double its spending of $350 million per year among in-state suppliers.

In exchange, Connecticut will provide financial incentives totaling up to $220 million over the term of the agreement. Sikorsky will receive grants of up to $8.57 million on an annual basis as long as it meets certain benchmarks in regards to growing jobs, payroll spending, utilizing in-state suppliers and deploying capital for machinery and equipment. Sales and use taxes will be exempted up to $5.7 million per year.

If Lockheed Martin exceeds the target level employment by 100 to 550 jobs in any given year, it will be eligible for a performance incentive grant of up to $1.9 million, for a total of up to $20 million.

The agreement passed the state Senate by a vote of 35-1, and the state House of Representatives by a vote of 136-6.

Sikorsky employs 7,855 people at its facilities in Stratford, Bridgeport, Shelton and North Haven.

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