by Christian Wade
A Connecticut-based helicopter maker that was promised tax breaks from the state, has lost out on a major defense contract.
Sikorsky Aircraft, maker of the iconic Blackhawk helicopters, had submitted a proposal to the U.S. Army to produce its Defiant-X helicopter as part of the next generation of long-range helicopters.
But the Army announced on Monday, it was awarding the $1.3 billion contract to Bell Textron, a Texas-based company.
In April, Sikorsky signed an agreement with Connecticut to keep its operations in the state in exchange for hefty tax breaks.
But the deal, which made Sikorsky eligible for up to $75 million in tax credits, was contingent on it securing two major U.S. military contracts to produce helicopters and other equipment. It was meant to ensure the firm remains headquartered in Connecticut for at least 20 years.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont issued a statement calling the news “disappointing,” but said the state stands behind the company and its workers.
“Sikorsky is a legacy Connecticut company with one of the best-trained workforces in the world, and while leadership takes the time to review their bid to understand more about the Army’s decision, we stand behind them and their employees,” he said.
Lamont said the state will continue to “work closely” with Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky to “secure future opportunities for the people of Connecticut to make the most advanced aircraft in the skies.”
In a statement, the Army said it followed a “deliberate and disciplined process” in evaluating proposals for its Future Long Range Assault Aircraft contract to “ensure rigorous review and equitable treatment of both competitors.”
A Sikorsky spokesperson told local news outlets the company remains optimistic about its future despite losing out on the contract.
“We remain confident DEFIANT-X is the transformational aircraft the U.S. Army requires to accomplish its complex missions today and well into the future,” the company said. “We will evaluate our next steps after reviewing feedback from the Army.”
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