Political leaders weigh in on Sikorsky sale

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STRATFORD — Connecticut’s congressional delegates seem cautiously optimistic at news that defense contractor Lockheed Martin is buying Sikorsky Aircraft.

On Monday, Lockheed announced the $9 billion deal to purchase the world’s largest helicopter manufacturer based in Stratford from its parent company, United Technologies.

“Sikorsky is a natural fit for Lockheed Martin and complements our broad portfolio of world-class aerospace and defense products and technologies,” Lockheed president and CEO Marillyn Hewson said in a statement.

Sikorsky, the maker of the Black Hawk helicopter, employs roughly 8,000 people in Connecticut. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy were quick to announce they would fight to keep the jobs in the state.

“I urge the Pentagon to swiftly assure that the Stratford plant will continue in full capacity,” Blumenthal wrote.

“Connecticut's defense manufacturing industry is the best in the world,” Senator Chris Murphy said in a statement.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose district includes Stratford, said she had a positive phone conversation with leaders at Lockheed and Sikorksy.

“My understanding is that, first of all we are going to keep the name Sikorsky, which is iconic. And, secondly that Sikorsky will remain in Connecticut,” she said.

The office of Governor Dannel Malloy also released a statement -- “Governor Malloy and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development remain in contact with executives of Sikorsky in order to ensure that this historic company continues its strong presence here in Connecticut, where our exceptionally skilled workforce has helped this company build the world’s best helicopters.

"Sikorsky is a vital part of the Connecticut economy. My greatest concern is that any partnership between Lockheed and Sikorsky not only benefit the two companies’ bottom lines but also creates more jobs for Connecticut workers and improves the surrounding communities. That’s what a successful deal looks like to me," said Rep. Jim Himes.

United Technologies Corp. announced in June that it planned to shed Sikorsky, either through a sale or spinoff. The aerospace and building systems conglomerate wants to focus on high-technology systems and services for the aerospace and building industries.

The deal is targeted to close by the end of the year or in 2016’s first quarter.